Turkish contractor Yapı Merkezi wins $1.9bn Tanzanian rail link

04 October 2017

The government of Tanzania has awarded the second phase of its strategic medium-speed rail system to Turkish contractor Yapı Merkezi. The line will run 422km between the city of Morogoro and Makutupora, on the northern outskirts of Dodoma, Tanzania’s capital.

In February this year, the government also appointed the Istanbul-based firm, along with Mota-Engil of Portugal, to the $1.2bn first stage of the standard gauge link, which will run 207km east to west between the port of Dar es Salaam and Morogoro.   

The design-and-build contract, which is worth $1.9bn, will replace the narrow gauge Tanzanian Railway line between Dar and Dodoma, built when Tanzania was part of German East Africa.

Speaking at a signing ceremony for the Morogoro-Makutopora deal, Masanja Kadogosa, RAHCO’s acting MD, said the line would be built within 36 months.

Fifteen companies entered bids for the second phase of the rail line after RAHCO issued the tender notice in November last year.

When the second stage is complete, the rail line will be about half-way to its destination on Tanzania’s western border with Burundi, where it will join with the other railways being built through the Great Lake states of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

Kenya has similar plans. There, Chinese firms and Chinese loans are building a standard-gauge railway to Uganda, hoping to turn Mombasa into the main export conduit for east Africa.

When complete the Tanzanian system will provide a 160km/h transport route for goods and people from these landlocked states to the world market, via the port of Dar es Salaam. As well as providing Tanzania – and Yapı Merkez – with a steady source of fees for freight transit, the project will require the redevelopment of Tanzania’s ports and provide a development corridor for future manufacturing plants.

RAHCO plans to award three further tenders for around 700km of track over the coming months.

Altogether, Tanzania plans to spend $14.2bn over the next five years to build a 2,561km of standard gauge, electrified track.

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