The Tanzania Zambia railway Authority (Tazara) is calling on local and foreign investors to develop tour packages to highlight the untapped southern corridor of Tanzania, promising that the rail service to the said region meets all required standards of safety, efficiency and even comfort.
Via an email interview, Conrad Simuchile, who is the Tazara authority head of public relations, asserts that the Southern corridor has a lot of tour attractions and all the area needs is promotion.
To meet this endeavour, Tazara has established special train carts dubbed Rovos to serve tour purposes along the Selous Game Reserve.
Simuchile also emphasised that Tazara welcomes public-private partnership to develop the infrastructure to improve its efficiency.
“…we welcome private operators and investors to bring in their own rail equipment, locomotives, wagons and coaches…,” called Simuchile who then assured the would be partners of complete cooperation from the authority explaining that they will be availed the use of the authority’s railway facilities on a access-fee charge basis.
On the other hand, transport stakeholders have been calling the management of Tazara to increase the number of operators on the jointly owned railway in order to increase traffic and improve efficiency.
It has been explained that at the moment, the railway is run by one operator (Tazara) which is not healthy for the economies of the two countries and for the railway’s development.
“Owners of this railway, that is governments of Tanzania and Zambia must start looking into the possibility of amending the Tazara Act to allow more operators…,” advised Simuchile.
Should the authority heed the advice, then the would-be operators will utilise the railway line to provide passenger or freight services at a fee to the authority and the governments increasing revenue to both governments.
They also urged the management to work closely with security organs to curb acts of vandalism on railway infrastructure.
Tazara which was constructed by the Chinese government from 1970 to 1976, covers 1,860 kilometers from Dar es Salaam to New KampiriMposhi and has an estimated workforce of 3,200.
The authority has had a rough patch in recent years and needed financial bailout and managerial restructuring but over the past few months it has registered progress.