The first such consignment of rails which will be used in the construction of the rail stretch from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro have been imported from Japan
Tanzania’s SGR project manager Maizo Mgedzi told the Guardian in an interview recently during a visit to the construction site at Soga, in Coast region, that the government was finalizing the rails’ clearance procedure to pave way for their offloading.
He said the rails would soon be transported to the site ready to be fixed on the concrete sleepers.
According to the manager, the rails have been imported from Japan because the country was well specialized in their manufacture.
“People must be surprised that the rails have not been imported from Turkey, the country undertaking the SGR construction. Japan is globally renowned for the supply of quality rails and has been manufacturing rails for a long time,” he said.
He said that unlike the metre gauge railway, the new SGR rails will be of 120 pounds to enable them adequately withstand bulky weight.
Commenting on the progress of the project, he said it was at different stages of development, such as precast girder production, cutting and filling of gaps to make a level surface, and production and supply of concrete sleepers.
According to the manager, the project had reached 22 per cent, noting that at that pace he was optimistic they would meet the deadline.
For his part, TRC executive director Masanja Kadogosa said despite some challenges, such as this year’s heavy rains, they were moving at a satisfactory pace to ensure work was completed on time.
“I have consulted the contractor to have a recovery programme to compensate for time lost during the rainy season in some parts of the railway line,” he said.
Tanzania signed an agreement with Turkish and Portuguese firms to construct the Dar es Salaam- Morogoro stretch at Sh2.7 trillion, which will be completed by November 1, next year.
Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi, through a joint venture with Portuguese company Mota Engil, won the first phase construction contract under the Tanzanian Railway Modernisation Programme worth $1.2 billion.
The firm is undertaking a 422-kilometre high-speed electric standard gauge railway line from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma, the longest section of the project, which has been divided into four phases.
Yapi Merkezi is currently implementing the first and second phases of the project from Dar es Salaam-Morogoro-Makutupora in Dodoma at a cost of $1.92 billion.
The firm is also responsible for technical, design and construct of the railway line, according to Reli Assets Holding Company officials.
Tanzania is said to have requested the Turkish state-owned Export Credit Bank (Eximbank) to help finance the 400-km stretch of the new railway, which is also being funded by the government of Tanzania.
The construction of the project is divided into four parts and put out separate tenders to design it. The three remaining sections are Makutupora-Tabora (294 km), Tabora-Isaka (133 km) and Isaka-Mwanza (248 km).
Tanzanian state-run railway firm Railway Assets Holding Company is expected to award at least one more contract before the end of the year, with the others slated for early next year.
The country plans to spend $14.2 billion over the next five years to build the 2,561-km standard gauge railway connecting its main port of Dar es Salaam to land-locked neighbours, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.
In July 2016, China, through its Exim Bank, agreed to advance Tanzania $7.9 million for the railway project, despite its key contracting firms having been omitted from the project.
By IPP Media