THE Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) has said the completion of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project will end congestion at the Dar es Salaam port, thus enhancing its competitiveness with other ports in the neighbouring countries.
The TPA Director-General, Mr Eric Hamissi made the remarks following the laying of the foundation stone for the Mwanza-Isaka SGR project by President Samia Suluhu Hassan recently in the region.
The Phase 5 section of a 3.2tri/-worth SGR line is 341 kilometres long will connect the port of Mwanza on Lake Victoria to the Isaka dry port. The Mwanza to Isaka SGR line is part of the 1596 kilometre railway project which is estimated to cost a total of 6.7 billion US dollars.
Upon its completion, the modern railway infrastructure will connect Dar es Salaam Port to the Lake Victoria port of Mwanza and thereafter to Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Similarly, the completion of the railway project will make the Dar es Salaam port more favourable to importers and exporters than the rest of the neighbouring ports including Beira and Mombasa ports in Mozambique and Kenya, respectively.
"The Rail will lower transportation costs of goods for approximately 40 per cent compared to using trucks, thus, boost the country's economy and its people," he said.
The reduced costs of production lower prices of commodities, increase volumes of transported cargo, where an average of 15,000 tonnes to 25,000 tonnes to be transported by railway will be equivalent to 200 to 310 trucks or semi-trailers. Based on its operations, Mr Hamissi clarified that Dar es Salaam port is favourable for its transportation of goods as it is connected to rail, noting that rail-water-rail is less costly than road transport.
The SGR at Fella area of Mwanza will be a delivery point, able to serve customers from member countries of the East African Community (EAC) namely Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
Commenting on SGR more benefits, the DG said that TPA is set to construct the dry port Fella ward of Misungwi District where the rail starts and Isaka in Shinyanga region, hence, creating both direct and indirect employments.
At least 11,000 job opportunities will be available to Tanzanians at the dry port project in the Isaka area of the Shinyanga region. Ako Group Company Managing Director, Mr Kelvin Koka, supported the motion, saying his company plans to serve foodstuffs to those 11,000 people.