IDA approves funding for Tanzanian rail project

Dar es Salaam – Isaka railThe International Development Association (IDA), part of World Bank Group, approved a USD 200 million financing for the 970 km Dar es Salaam – Isaka rail improvement project.

The funding will support the second phase of the project (Tanzania Intermodal and Rail Development Project – TIRP-2) totalling USD 220.03 million which will will improve safety, climate resilience, and operational efficiency along this railway line.

Apart from strengthening the infrastructure and supporting transport studies, the project is focused on strengthening the climate resilience of the Kilosa-Gulwe-Igandu section, providing operational and institutional support, and supporting emergency response measures.

In addition to the 900,000 direct beneficiaries, the project will indirectly impact an estimated 3.5 million people, roughly 5% of Tanzania’s population. This includes railway users, residents along the line, businesses involved in trade, and communities along the Kinywasungwe catchment area.

While the country’s transport network is extensive, there are persistent bottlenecks in terms of maintenance and capacity that are limiting its full use. This investment will directly address the bottlenecks in the rail network to enhance efficiency, capacity, and competitiveness so as to maximize Tanzania’s unique position to facilitate regional connectivity,” Nathan Belete, World Bank Country Director said.

The TIRP is a USD 300 million World Bank-funded project for the revival of the Tanzania meter-gauge railway network and is designed to rehabilitate Dar es Salaam – Isaka rail line to increase the axle load.

TIRP-2 builds on phase one of the IDA-financed Tanzania intermodal and rail development project (TIRP-1) which closed in September 2022. TIRP-1 supported the government in improving the metre-gauge railway section between Dar es Salaam and Isaka (970 km). This included the rehabilitation of tracks and bridges, which helped to increase the axle load capacity from 13.9 tonnes to 18.5 tonnes for the section between Dar es Salaam and Tabora (840 km). The project also included the completion of designs to rehabilitate the intermodal terminals at the Dar es Salaam port, Ilala, and Isaka. TIRP-1 also facilitated the acquisition of additional rolling stock for Tanzania Railway Corporation (TRC) and contributed to the development of economic and safety regulations for open-access train operations.

Tanzania has a total of 3,676 km of railway lines operated by two railway systems, Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) and Tanzania – Zambia Railways (TAZARA). The mainline of TRC comprises the Central Corridor, a meter gauge railway connecting the port of Dar es Salaam in the east with central and western areas of the country and terminating at Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika in the west. The TAZARA line is 1,860 km in length, of which 975 km is in Tanzania and 885 km in Zambia. Currently, Tanzania is implementing a third rail system comprising standard gauge lines along the Central Corridor is being built in phases.


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