M a r k e t N e w s

Tanzania: New Locomotives for TAZARA

Posted on : Wednesday , 18th November 2015

Dar es Salaam — The Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) has received four new diesel-electric mainline locomotives and 18 passenger coaches valued at $22.4 million.

"We remain eternally grateful to the government and the people of China for their constant and positive association with TAZARA, which they helped build some forty years ago and have continued to prop up unreservedly throughout the years," Eng. Ronald Phiri, the acting Managing Director of TAZARA said during the offloading of the equipment at Port of Dar es Salaam.
The new locomotives are expected to improve the current daily availability of mainline locomotives by 33% to an average of 16 locomotives.
The new equipment was purchased through the 15th Protocol of Economic and Technical Cooperation (15th Protocol), a trilateral loan agreement that was signed by the three governments of China, Tanzania and Zambia on 26 March 2012.
The support is in the form of an interest-free loan to the Tanzanian and Zambian governments, but with the specific aim of improving TAZARA operations.
Eng. Phiri noted that the economic and technical support from China had kept TAZARA afloat while awaiting the much-needed re-capitalization and restructuring by the shareholding Governments of Tanzania and Zambia.
"Over the years, the various Protocols signed in support of TAZARA have been necessary and critical for the survival of the Authority, even as we wait upon the shareholders to deliver the long-lasting solutions required for re-building our operating capacity," said Eng. Phiri.
The new equipment is expected to register a substantial impact on the operations of TAZARA, which has been struggling from diminished capacity as a consequence of aged equipment that often suffered from the absence of scheduled maintenance due to inadequate finances. The infusion of four mainline locomotive raises the current daily availability of mainline locomotives by 33% from 12 to 16 and is also likely raise the locomotive reliability between failures by18% to 7,098km from 6,015km recorded in the 2014/2015 Financial Year.
Aged between 25-30 years, most mainline locomotives that are currently in operation have outlived their lifespan and are frequently breaking down, a situation that has been exacerbated by the Authority's failure to adhere to maintenance schedules due liquidity challenges.
With an improvement in the availability of working capital, it is envisaged that freight haulage will increase whilst the drop in the frequency of breakdowns will also boost the transit and turn-around times, thereby raising the bar in terms of service delivery and customer satisfaction.
Over the years, the passenger service operational levels had dropped drastically to the very minimum, where four trains per week with barely 455,000 passengers were transported in the 2014/2015 Financial Year, compared to ten years ago when the Authority used to run6trains per week and convey more than 900,000 passengers annually.
Resulting from the reduced number of coaches, the passenger operations had been characterized by poor services over the years, including congestions, delayed departures, frequent breakdowns along the journey, and late arrivals, which became a common occurrence. Such features are expected to be scaled down soon and will certainly be eliminated with further injection of more new coaches in the coming years.
As a brand with a global reach, the acquisition of new coaches for TAZARA puts the management on a firm footing to restore the good international standards and reputation for which the TAZARA passenger trains have been renowned.
China and TAZARA remain inseparable. TAZARA has been receiving regular financial support from the Chinese Government through what are termed as 'Protocols of Economic and Technical Co-operation' (Protocols) signed with Tanzania and Zambia in the form of interest free loans.
The last Protocol was the 15th Protocol since the inception of TAZARA and was signed in March 2012. The delivery of the locomotives and coaches almost brings to completion the 12 projects with a value of RMB Yuan 270 million (approximately $42 million at the time of signing) undertaken under the 15th Protocol. The last of the 12 projects covers locomotive and wagon spares, which are expected to be delivered in December 2015.
The 12 projects also included the supply of two shunting locomotives, various rescue and lifting equipment, track trolleys, assorted spare parts and 30,000 pieces of wooden sleepers as well as training of staff in various railway skills and attachment of Chinese Railway Experts to TAZARA over a period of three years.

Source : allafrica.com
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