The Tanzania-Zambia Railway, linking the port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania with the town of Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia’s central province, used to be a major copper export route, as its export routes that ran through then apartheid controlled South Africa were cut off.
In 1976, Chinese construction crews completed the 1,860-kilometer-long TAZARA, the largest single foreign-aid project undertaken by China at the time, at an initial construction cost of $500 million. The train route represents the good relations among Tanzania, Zambia and China.
Dar es Salaam station, at the outskirts of the economic capital of Tanzania, is the starting terminal of the route, resembling railway stations in China’s second-tier cities.
Forty years later, there is no more bustle of passengers, with only two pair weekly trains in operation. However, passengers at the booking office said they are regular commuters in the train, as it is safer and cheaper than other kinds of transportation.
The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) was constructed as a turn key project between 1970 and 1975.
The Project was financed through an interest free loan of RMBY 988 Million (equivalent to US Dollars 500 Million) from the Peoples Republic of China. It started commercial operations in July 1976.
TAZARA is an integral part of the southern Africa Regional Rail Transport Network. It is a rail link of approximately 1,860 km. long rising at sea level from the East African port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, to New Kapiri Mposhi at 1400m above sea level in the Central African country of Zambia.
The railroad is designed with a 1067 mm gauge that permits through traffic operations with contiguous railway of Southern Africa. Equipped with adequate facilities, TAZARA has a designed capacity of 5 million tonnes of freight a year.
TAZARA currently handles exports/imports of both Tanzania and Zambia, as well as Malawi, DR Congo, the great lakes region, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The construction of Kidatu transhipment Depot has opened and linked new markets of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The containerised traffic arriving from South Africa as well as imports through Dar es Salaam port can now be easily transhipped at Kidatu (by TAZARA or TRC) to other destinations in the SADC countries and East & Central Africa.
Source: chinadaily.com.cn | December 01