SGR trials start July, govt rubbishes cargo plane report

THE government has said that the first trial of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro will begin in July this year.

Government Chief Spokesperson Gerson Msigwa announced this in Dodoma on Wednesday during a media briefing, explaining the reason behind the delay for the trials to start operation.

“The difficulties the locomotive manufacturer like spare parts from Canada was facing, prevented the tests from beginning in May of this year as planned earlier,” he said.

The test commission has been rescheduled to July, according to Msigwa. “The government was not lying to Tanzanians when it maintained it would conduct tests in May; it was unable to do so owing to circumstances beyond its control.”

He went on to say that the German manufacturer of two locomotives relies on spare parts from Canada and has been delayed in receiving them for a variety of reasons, including the global economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 and the war between Ukraine and Russia.

According to Mr Msigwa, the locomotive will now arrive in July this year and the first tests of the SGR train will take place that month.

The spokesperson, said 14 of the 59 wagons manufactured in Korea have already arrived in the country, and 45 more are on their way.

Additionally, six of the 30 German wagons have been modified by 85 per cent. They are scheduled to arrive in the nation on June 2–3 of this year.

Meanwhile, the government has dismissed rumours circulated by the myflight.com website that the New Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) cargo plane has been spotted at the Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA).

New Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) cargo plane

Mr Msigwa said the website had published an article claiming that the new plane Boeing 787-300F  is  involved in illegal transportation of  goods, and that the aircraft has been spotted at the JNIA with cargo that were not inspected by Customs officers.

“Our plane has not arrived, we are expecting it on June 3rd this year (Saturday), and tomorrow  (today) Minister for Works and Transport Prof Makame Mbarawa will  inform the public on the schedule  of receiving the brand new aircraft,” he said.

He added that, “It is the first time that Tanzania is going to write a history in receiving a huge cargo aircraft that has never been in possession of the country, this is a huge revolution and transformation that is going to be made in the transport sector”.

According to Mr Msigwa, the plane that is capable of carrying 54 tonnes of cargo is still in the United States (US) and the manufacturer has not yet handed it over to the buyer that is the government of Tanzania.

“We ask Tanzanians to disregard the rumours that have been circulated,” said Mr Msigwa, noting that the website that has published the fake news has an intention of tarnishing the positive image of ATCL and Tanzanians aviation sector at large.

Mr Msigwa noted the Ministry of Works and Transport through ATCL is closely monitoring the website that has been implicated for possible legal procedures that have to be taken.

“This misleading information aims at dragging back the efforts that President Samia is taking to strengthen the transport sector that has huge contributions to the economy,” said Mr Msigwa.

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