The long awaited privatization of TRL was finally completed at the beginning of the month. The culmination of the process of awarding the concession to run the the rail company gives hope that the reform work will soon start to bring the company back on track. In recent years, train operations were suspended along the Tanga line and between Dodoma and further upcountry routes. Problems with the tracks and wagons have severly hampered the operations of the parastatal, distruption civilian travel plans and threatening the economy of neighbouring countries as well.

TRC finally privatised

TITUS KAGUO
Daily News; Tuesday,September 04, 2007 @00:04
RELI Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) and Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) yesterday signed an agreement in Dar es Salaam for a 25-year concession to run the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) effective October 1, this year.Acting board chairperson, Mrs Agnes Bukuku signed on behalf of RAHCO while the Director, Mr Sudhir Kumar Seth, signed on behalf of TRL in a deal that completes the privatisation of TRC.TRL is a locally registered company owned jointly by RITES Limited of India with 51 per cent shares and the government of Tanzania with 49 per cent shares.

The concession agreement allows TRL to start running TRC monitored and supervised by RAHCO on future investment in the railway infrastructure and performance. The Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) will continue to be the regulatory body.

The new investor has finalised arrangements for a new capital investment loan of US dollars 40 million (about 40 billion/-) from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the purchase of locomotives, coaches and wagons.

According to a recent IFC report, TRC will have 90 locomotives, 1,285 freight wagons, 109 passenger coaches and one water bogie.

The World Bank has also approved a loan for US dollars 33 million (about 33 billion/-) to finance the much needed rehabilitation of the railway line.

About 3,316 workers have been retained while 3,204 were retrenched. There was possibility for hiring 480 new ones.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Minister for Infrastructure Development, Mr Andrew Chenge, said the government was confident that the concession will tremendously improve the provision of rail transport services in the country and neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

TRC operates a network of approximately 2,700 kilometres which have deteriorated substantially since 2003 when the corporation started experiencing cash and other problems.

In 2006, TRC reported annual volumes of about 0.8 million tonnes of freight, down from approximately 1.4 million tonnes in 2003. In 2006, TRC also transported about 600,000 passengers per year, down from 685,000 passengers in 2003.

TRL to overhaul central railway line

TITUS KAGUO
Daily News; Monday,September 17, 2007 @00:03
TANZANIA Railways Limited (TRL) plans to overhaul 645-kilometre central railway system, by replacing new 80 pounds trunks that will create standard weight and width for all central rails from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza and Kigoma.

The TRL’s Managing Director, Mr Narasimhaswami Jayaram, told the ‘Daily News’ over the weekend that currently TRC’s rail system has different weight and width which needs replacement of 80 trunks rail to form uniform standard.

Mr Jayaram said the initial survey has shown that there is great variation on rail standards with some areas having 45, others 50 and 60 pound trunks thus affecting rail transport system as it is not of standard unit.

“This will be our first serious assignment in the period of five years and all rail trunks with 60 pounds will be taken to rehabilitate Tanga route which also needs special maintenance, ” said Mr Jayram.

Giving explanations on when trains would start using the Dar es Salaam terminal, the director said if everything goes well, the first passenger train is expected to start operating in January or February. The company is waiting for the arrival of 25 coaches and 15 locomotives from India early next year.

“We will rehabilitate 30 coaches and 15 locomotives that were earlier owned by TRC in a bid to move all cargoes and passengers,” he said adding that Tanzania has a lot of business potential in rail transportation.

He said their task would only be to look for more coaches and locomotives to meet the increased demand of cargo and passenger transportation.

He said TRL would start with five trains a week from Dar es Salaam and as coaches and locomotives become under stable condition (rehabilitated) then the number is likely to increase according to demands.

Coming of TRL to operate the central line is a blessing as transporters in land-locked countries of Burundi, Rwanda, DRC-Congo and Uganda have been crying about costs incurred due to poor transport system.

TRC problem has been affecting even operations of Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) as justified recently when a Rwandese business delegation met TPA and TRC officials among other things to discuss on how the two would handle the expected boom of cargoes to be exported to Rwanda via Dar.

The delegation led by the Director for Trade and Regional Integration from the Private Sector, Mr John Kalisa, met also officials of Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) and Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

Mr Kalisa said some of the goods Rwanda would soon import through Dar es Salaam Port include 25,000 tonnes of cement and 15,000 tonnes of fertilizer per every three months thus they wanted assurance where TPA and TRC could accommodate the