Tanzania awards Turkish firm 1.92 bln USD railway deal

DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 3– The government of Tanzania on Friday
awarded a 1.92 billion U.S. dollars contract to a Turkish firm to construct
a 336-kilometer standard gauge railway (SGR) line from Morogoro to
Makutupora in the east African nation’s political capital Dodoma.

State-run Reli Assets Holding Company Ltd (RAHCO) that oversees the
construction of the SGR said the Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi Insaat VE Sanayi
As was the appointed contractor on the project and will design and
construct the high-speed electric railway line. Yapi Merkezi, a
privately-owned Turkish contracting company, specializes in rail
engineering, design, manufacture and construction. “Fifteen contractors
bought bid documents, but after careful assessment of the bids, Yapi
Merkezi met both the technical and financial requirements,” RAHCO said in a
statement. “The new railway line will have a capacity of transporting 17
million tonnes of cargo each year, with a 35 tonne axle load capacity. It
will be used by electric trains moving at a speed of 160 kilometers per
hour,” added the statement.

Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Istanbul, Yapi Merkezi has also
recently won similar big rail construction deals in Ethiopia. The Tanzanian
government wants the new standard gauge railway to replace the existing
narrow gauge railway line built some 112 years ago. In February this year,
the same Yapi Merkezi company was awarded by the government a deal worth
1.22 billion dollars in joint venture with a Portuguese company to build a
300-kilometer SGR line from the port of Dar es Salaam to Morogoro. The
government did not immediately say how it would pay for the cost of
building the Morogoro-Makutupora line, but it previously announced that it
was constructing the railway section from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro using
its own funds.

Speaking at a signing ceremony for the Morogoro-Makutopora rail deal,
RAHCO’s acting managing director, Masanja Kadogosa, said the line would be
built within 36 months. “The project will involve construction of 336
kilometers of the main railway line, 86km of an interchange rail, eight
passenger stations and six cargo stations,” he said. Makame Mbarawa, the
Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, ordered the Turkish firm
to speed up construction work. “We have asked the contractor to shorten
the duration of the construction period as much as possible,” he said.

RAHCO said it would also award three additional tenders over the coming
months to successful bidders for the construction of close to 700
kilometers of railway. Tanzania plans to profit from its long coastline
and upgrade its rickety railways and roads to serve the growing economies
in the land-locked heart of Africa. In total, the government expects to
spend 14.2 billion U.S. dollars over the next five years to build a 2,561
kilometers standard gauge railway network connecting the country’s main
Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to eastern and southern Africa’s
hinterland. The Dar es Salaam port is a key regional transport hub for the
landlocked nations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Zambia,
Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. – XINHUA