THE railway sector recorded history with the re-launch of the Tanga-Moshi railway over the weekend after a lull of 12 years.
The re-launch event at Moshi that saw 800 tonnes of cement from Tanga Cement being ferried to Moshi, marked another important milestone in the development of the railway sub-sector in Tanzania as the government makes efforts to upgrade old railway infrastructure in line with promises made in the 2015 election manifesto to improve transport infrastructure.
It should be noted that railway transport is the second most important mode of transport after road and critical for long distance freight along the main transport corridors.
It is more economical, quicker and best suited for carrying heavy and bulky goods over long distances. Experts in the transportation sector contend that every increase in the railway traffic is followed by a decrease in the average cost.
We see Tanga - Moshi railway line will help to limit damages to road leading to the northern regions primarily caused by heavy-duty freight vehicles.
We see that it will eventually cut down on resulting maintenance as it will reduce truck traffic in the long term, easing the traffic burden on the road while enhancing its longevity and quality.
To put it in the context, the 800 tonnes of cement transported on the maiden trip is equivalent to 30 truckloads. We are also optimistic that the revived railway line will unlock economic potential of Tanga and Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions with availability of cheaper rail freight that will have multiplier effects on other sectors.
For instance we expect that it will stimulate activities at the Tanga port as it makes economic sense to transport export cargo from northern zone regions to Tanga port by railway instead of Dar es Salaam port by using trucks.
The revival of the Tanga-Moshi railway line happened two days after another feat in the air transportation sector when the state-owned national carrier, Air Tanzania launched flights to India.
The airline’s frequency will gradient up to three times a week from India’s commercial capital, Mumbai to Dar es Salaam, un upcoming Africa transport hub.
The maiden flight on Thursday marked the airline’s commitment to expanding their footprint within the world’s fastest growing aviation market, India after launching flights to South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Burundi to capture share in the lucrative regional market. We want to underline that great things are happening in Tanzania and the pace is astonishing.
Under the leadership of President John Magufuli, the government is ambitious to develop nation’s roads, ports, railways and airport infrastructure which are critical for the country to improve its internal and regional trade.
We see things happening and we should expect much more provided we do not rest on our laurels.