5 January 2014

Tanzania: Boost to Railway Operations Underway

Bukoba — GOVERNMENT has embarked on a massive locomotive repair project with the aim to resuscitate operations of the ailing central line, the Deputy Minister for Transport, Dr Charles Tizeba has said.

Addressing regional government leaders in Bukoba Municipality on Friday, Dr Tizeba said the renovation of eight locomotive engines is currently underway and four of them will be ready before end of April, this year.

"The four engines will add haulage at the tune of 30,000 tonnes on top of the present carrying capacity of 260,000 tonnes annually.

The plan is to increase the volume to three million tonnes by 2015," he said. Dr Tizeba elaborated that government had already ordered a total of 13 brand new locomotives engines and 265 carriages from abroad to enable the Central line to handle more cargo.

He added, the marine services sector was also undergoing enormous rehabilitation with at least three modern vessels being constructed at Mwanza South Port. One of the vessels will be deployed to Lake Tanganyika and another to Lake Victoria and tenders have been floated.

The deputy minister disclosed that within two weeks Air Tanzania will acquire a new jet plane to facilitate air travel between Dar es Salaam and Mwanza - Kigoma.

"Right now, I cannot guarantee when Air Tanzania will extend its wings to Bukoba. This will largely depend on business turn-over," he explained.

He further elaborated that it was not only Air Tanzania which had incurred a big loss but also international air transport companies including Zimbabwe Air, Uganda Air, Swiss Air, Lufthansa and South Africa Airline.

He said government made timely intervention by taking over the debt and now the airline has a clean balance sheet. Dr Tizeba said Tanzania was far advanced railway networks currently it links Isaka - Keza - Kigali (Rwanda) to Msongati in Burundi "I want to clarify this matter because there is a lot of distortion.

The government of Tanzania is mobilising own resources to construct a 317km railway line between Isaka - Keza, while governments of Rwanda and Burundi got loans from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for feasibility and design work," he clarified.


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