Tanzanian state-run railway firm Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO) has awarded Turkish firm Yapı Merkezi a $1.9 billion contract for a mega project in Tanzania.

The project is to build a high-speed railway to connect Dar es Salaam with Mwanza on Lake Victoria, Rwanda and Burundi. . This project received 15 bids from various companies. The firm, which has ranked 78th in the list of the world’s largest contractors, initially partnered with Portuguese partner Mota-Engil Engenharia, on a $1.2 billion contract for the first phase. However, the company has just won the contract for the second stage for the project, making it the sole contractor for the second phase of construction. In the second phase, Morogoro and Makutupora will be connected with a 422-kilometer line. Once completed, the line will be capable of transporting more than 17 million tons of cargo annually. The company has a 36 month time limit to complete the project.

According to Yapı Merkezi Deputy Chairman Erdem Arıoğlu, this was one of the biggest bids ever won by a Turkish firm abroad. He continues by saying that “We will single handedly build a near 336-kilometer-long railway network, complete with infrastructure and technology”. The project will employ over 1000 Turkish engineers and staff. This is not their first big project. Yapı Merkezi has already completed railways in Algeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Senegal and Morrocco.

The project design will allow speeds up to 160 kilometers per hour, with the ability to transport 17 million tonnes of cargo per year following the overhaul. Alongside the railway, eight passenger stations and six freight terminals will also be constructed. The project work will also include all design works, infrastructure building, rail laying, signalization, communication systems, spare part manufacturing, electrification and staff training. The project is also expected to provide an increase in tourism and trade for Tanzania. In addition, it will provide exporting possibilities for landlocked Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Tanzanian Government intends to invest around $14.2bn over the next five years to construct a 2,561km standard-gauge railway network, which will connect its Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to the other regions within the country. RAHCO also plans to award three further tenders for around 700km of track over the coming months.

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