PUBLISHED ON March 23rd, 2015

Dar starts block train for cargo business

Tanzania has secured Tsh138 billion ($76.8 million) to expand its rail network to East African countries after the introduction of a block train scheduled to start operations next week. The train will speed up the movement of goods from Tanzania to other countries.

On a block train, all wagons carry the same commodity and are shipped from the same origin to the same destination, without being split up or stored en route. The main benefit of the block train is a shorter journey time compared with the system of single wagons shipments.

According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport Shaaban Mwijanka, the government has already spent $40.7 million to purchase 19 locomotives.

“Our port is now an entry point to the East and Central African markets. In a bid to ease transportation of goods, Tanzania has decided to invest in a block train,” Mr Mwijanka said. He said the block train will start its route from Dar es Salaam to the north-western towns of Kigoma and Isaka.

One locomotive will be able to pull 21 wagons and carry 880 tonnes of cargo. Mr Mwinjaka said goods like fertiliser, cement, sugar and food products can be moved in bulk.

Tanzania Railway Ltd director general Kipallo Kisamfu said the TRA plans to transport up to three million tonnes of cargo by 2016, up from 200,000 tonnes transported in 2012.

Over the past five years, the overall cargo handled by all ports in the country has been increasing at an average rate of 13.4 per cent per year.

Cargo increased from 7 million tonnes in 2008/09 to 11 million tonnes in 2012/13. Bulk liquid cargo through the port of Dar es Salaam increased from 2.4 million tonnes in 2008/09 to 4.3 million tonnes in 2012/13, an increase of 19 per cent per year.

Source: The East African

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