Plans afoot to revamp Tanga, central lines

The once famous Central and Tanga  lines owned by  the Tanzania Railway Limited (TRL) are scheduled for revamping after   two  feasibility studies  are concluded mid this year.

Minister for Transport Mr Omar Nundu told the 'Daily News' in Dar es Salaam on Monday that the two separate studies  would be accomplished by May while in June a request for proposal (RFP) would be issued.

"A number of companies have shown interest to invest in TRL and have sent us their proposals," Mr Nundu said adding: "We want the companies to use a single RFP... the idea is to make TRL tick again and as soon as possible."

The RFP is issued at an early stage in a procurement process, whereby an invitation is presented for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service.

The minister spoke with the 'Daily News'  on the sideline of the  tour of East African Cooperation (EAC) member states' ministers for Finance, Economic Affairs, Investment, Trade, and Home Affairs at the two major ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

Mr Nundu said the studies, to be carried out by two Chinese firms would  establish how to replace the old railway gauge to a new standard gauge of 1.435 metres that enables the rolling stock to move fast and carry extra load.  This would also increase the number of rolling stock -- from locomotives to freight wagons.

"Our plan will ensure the railway infrastructure supports expansion of the Dar port and does not interfere with  this activity," he said. The minister named the two Chinese companies  as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) and Chinese Road and Bridge Construction Company.

EAC Secretary General Dr Richard Sezibera said the ministers were in a familiarization tour  to view the two ports' activities  in a bid to remove the bottlenecks that may be stalling the bloc's businesses.   

He said in order to speed up trading in the EAC, the region will install a single window clearance at entry points  by December  at the latest, to eliminate transit  goods  hurdles within the region.

Uganda's Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Mr Fredrick Ruhindi, said inland ports would be rendered useless in terms of customs duty  but will facilitate exports and imports, complimenting ports on cargo handling to reduce congestion.   

Rwandan Minister John Bosco said he wondered why the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services (TICTS) failed to perform  in accordance with its privatization mandate.

"(Actual) TICTS is performing  below  standards and for what it was  privatized, it must  expedite cargo clearance," Mr Bosco said. But TICTS' Terminal Manager Donald Talawa defended the performance of the firm, saying it was good as it now handled twice the capacity of the facility, surpassing the terminal capacity of 250,000 TEUs in the  past six years.

TICTS  is currently rehabilitating  berth number nine and expects to deliver another 6.5 million US dollar (10.4bn/-) quay crane between July and August, while container dwelling time is only 10 days, he said.
Source; The Daily News,www.dailynews.co.tz, reported by Abduel Elinaza
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