SEVERAL countries have expressed interest in investing in the upcoming Mtwara-Mbambabay Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project, which is set to unlock massive economic potential of Liganga and Mchuchuma coal mines under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
This was disclosed by the Deputy Minister for Works and Transport, Atupele Mwakibete in Dar es Salaam, at the handover ceremony for six double-decker coaches for SGR.
“On June 16 this year, we will hold an important meeting for all stakeholders who are interested in investing in the construction of the SGR, in which the countries such as England, South Africa, USA, Canada and China have shown interest in investing in the Mtwara Development Corridor,” he said, on Friday.
The Mtwara Development Corridor is a Spatial Development Initiative (SDI) comprising southern Tanzania, northern Mozambique, northern and central Malawi, and eastern and northern Zambia.
The SDI aims to develop a transportation corridor to provide these regions with easier access to Tanzania’s Mtwara port as well as other transit corridors within the project’s focus areas.
In 2021, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) provided Tanzania 6 million US dollars (over 13bn/-) for conducting feasibility studies and preparing a detailed design of a railway from Mtwara Region to Mbamba Bay in Ruvuma Region.
The envisaged railway is to span 1,000 km from Mtwara port to Mbamba Bay on Lake Nyasa through Mchuchuma and Liganga areas.
The coaches were delivered in the country on Tuesday ahead of the commissioning of the Dar es Salaam – Morogoro SGR section in July this year. They are among 30 coaches being repaired by Lückemeier Transport & Logistik GmbH of Germany.
Mr Mwakibete stated that the ministry continues to oversee the procurement of wagons and other equipment through signed contracts, including the deal for the purchase of another 59 new passenger coaches, 14 of which arrived in the country last year.
According to the deputy minister, SGR costs approximately 23.3tril/-, in which the first phase is from Dar es Salaam – Mwanza and the second phase from Dar es Salaam to Kigoma in which all six lots there are contractors.
“There were those who questioned what this railway will transport if it gets to Mwanza; I want to reassure them that our goal for the SGR is to connect the lakes and the sea. In addition to the cargo ship that is now being built in Lake Victoria, there is another one that carries wagons and freight and can hold 22 wagons at once,” he said.
The Director General of Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC), Masanja Kadogosa, announced earlier that the company expects to receive a locomotive by the end of July, in addition to the six coaches it has already received.
“Today we have received two types of coaches, four of which are the second class which can carry 123 passengers and two first-class coaches which can carry 140 passengers,” he said.
Mr Kadogosa said the coaches have Air Conditioners, Television and CCTV Cameras for the safety of passengers, and they are also capable of travelling at 160 kilometres per hour. Additionally, they have safety features because the raw materials used to manufacture them are capable of preventing fire and ensuring the safety of passengers and their property.