THE fifth phase government has continued writing history in the country this time by relaunching Tanga-Moshi Railway Line that ceased operations 12 years ago, with the transportation of cargo train carrying 800 tonnes of cement from Tanga to Moshi .
The relaunch of the railway line is a commendable step as it will provide reliable cargo transport from Tanga Port to the northern regions of Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara, considerably reducing transport costs.
The railway now brings a sigh of relief to residents in the northern regions as they are likely to start getting goods at a rather reduced price.
For over a decade northerners have been relying on trucks to transport cargo to their areas, which has been hiking retail and wholesale prices.
The relaunch was done by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa and was attended by national leaders as well as those from Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions, including Members of Parliament (MPs) and many Moshi residents.
The PM said that after the reintroduction of the railway, which has been well renovated from Tanga to Moshi, it would be extended to Arusha City and soon a passenger train will start offering services to and from Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Moshi and Arusha.
“Experts in the transportation sector have found out that the use of train to transport goods reduces costs between 30 and 40 per cent as well as are transported in bulk, assuring safety and quick delivery,” said Mr Majaliwa.
The premier said people would be at liberty in the near future to use railway transport or buses to travel from Dar es Salaam to Arusha and the other way.
He called on businesspersons to use the railway service to purchase and transport goods.
He called upon workers, police officers and district authorities around where the railway passes to safeguard it and ensure its infrastructure was well preserved so that it improved the economy and made the lives of people better through quality transport and transportation.
Mr Majaliwa commended Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) Managing Director Masanja Kadogosa and the board of directors for their faithfulness as they had renovated the railway for only 5bn/-, while some foreign companies had estimated the cost to be 10bn/-.
Part time workers, who were involved in the renovation, are officially offered employment on a permanent basis. The premier said he was thrilled to see the cargo train arrive at Moshi after its absence for 12 years.
He said it would also stimulate agriculture, industries and tourism. Mr Majaliwa explained that Tanzania was strategically well-placed geographically, with a long seashore bordered by five countries that depend on it and that the fifth phase government would utilise such an opportunity to benefit from it.
He noted that the government had invested 7.1bn/- for Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that would later be stretched to the Lake Zone – Mwanza and then Kigoma.
He unveiled that major renovations were taking place at the Central Railway Line to improve it and link to Rwanda and Burundi.
The chairman of TRL Board of Directors, Prof John Kandoro said all railway lines would be renovated and new ones set up as the country envisioned becoming a middle-income and industrial economy.
He mentioned some of the renovations as from Tabora-Kaliua-Mpanda and Mtwara to Mbamba Bay that decrease transport costs to end users and improve Tanzania’s economy.
Prof Kandoro said 800 tonnes of cement that were transported from Tanga to Moshi yesterday would have been transported by 30 trucks. “The use of the train will reduce costs, save roads from damage and conserve the environment,” he said.
He allayed fears of truck owners and other stakeholders that the business would die, saying the launch of railway transportation would make it simpler to handle, as lorries would transport goods from railway stations to other places such as different districts that railway did not reach or where there was no station.
Moshi MP Japhery Michael hailed the government for reviving railway transport, saying his voters would benefit a lot from it. Special Seats MP Shally Raymond said women were happy for their bananas would be transported to Dar es Salaam safely and on time.
She asked for Moshi women to be given tenders to provide food services when the passenger train start services. The PM backed her and asked the TRL boss to work on it.