The Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (Tazara) has received 90 new wagons, worth USD 5 million, from China, as part of implementation of a bilateral protocol the Asian country signed with Tanzania two years ago.
Tazara head of public relations Conrad Simuchile told The Guardian yesterday in Dar es Salaam that the new wagons was a good start in a concerted mission to acquired at least 1,000 more wagons to make the authority operate efficiently.
“However, it too early to tell what improvement these wagons would bring in our operations because our services are still unstable,” said the officer, adding that the new wagons would be used for carrying cargo and passengers.
Simuchile noted that Tazara, which before the new wagons were brought from China had a total of 1,000 wagons, needed about 2,000 wagons to operate effectively.
In a statement earlier, Tazara informed that the China support was part of the USD 40 million loans that the leading Asian economy would provide Tazara under the 14th Protocol between the two friendly countries signed in December 2009.
It said that the first set of wagons had successfully completed the maiden trial trip. “The initial test run involved the haulage of 1,050mt of fertilizer from Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi, where the train arrived on Wednesday June 1, 2011,” noted Tazara in the statement.
It said another trial trip would be made tomorrow involving a set of 35 wagons, which will be followed by another trip to transport 1,200mt of copper cathodes from Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam.
He said the support involved special services of technicians for servicing the wagons and supplying spare parts.
Tazara managing-director Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika said he was happy to receive the new wagons under the protocol, through which 36 technical staff members of the authority would soon leave for training in China.