THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Tanzania 2014 | TRANSPORT | REVIEW: TRANSPORT

Tanzania's Development Vision 2025 aims to attain stronger, sustainable economic growth and eliminate poverty.

REGIONAL ROADWAYS

Approximately 30,000 kilometers of the country's 86,000 kilometer national road network is run by the Tanzania National Roads Agency (TANROADS), while the remainder (primarily urban and district roads) falls within the remit of the Prime Ministry. Increased funding is pledged each year for the upgrade of the system, but private sector engagement will be necessary to strengthen this critical network. A current focus is on rural roads, the improvement of which plays an key role in the government's Rural Development Strategy. On a larger scale, Tanzania's own network feeds into the East Africa Road Network Project. The ongoing Arusha-Holili/Taveta-Voi Roa project will link the Northern Corridor with the Central Corridor, ultimately connecting the port of Mombasa with Arusha and the capital Dodoma, thereby opening up landlocked Rwanda and Burundi. Projects such as these are establishing Tanzania's importance as a transport nexus in the region. Projects to redevelop the more than 80% of roads that remain unpaved are being spearheaded by Chinese firms such as Sinohydro, China Henan International Cooperation Group Company, and the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

ROLLING STOCK

Tanzania's central railway line links Dar es Salaam with Didoma on Lake Tanganyika, with smaller lines running off to important mining areas such as Arusha and Mwanza. It runs to approximately 2,700 kilometers, and meets with the country's second railway line at Dar es Salaam port. The latter, run by the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority, is 970 kilometers in length. Both lines have seen sharp reductions in use in recent years, for both cargo and passenger services, and in 2010 the government decided against renewing a maintenance contract with the Indian RITES company. Meanwhile, efforts have been made to replace and renovate the system, and major plans are in place to get the system back on track. “Our long-term plan is to have a standard gauge railway from Dar es Salaam to Kigali and Musongati in Burundi," stated Minister of Transport Harrison Mwakyembe in an interview with TBY. “Over the years around 95% of cargo has been moved by road rather than rail. We need to invest more in railway transportation." Petrochemicals, fertilizer, cement, textiles, and natural resources, such as gold and copper, will all need to be transported efficiently if Tanzania is to reach its 2025 goals, and a modern railway system may be the answer.

THE GREAT LAKES

The National Transport Policy's maritime goal to promote the use of waterways as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly transport alternative for coastal and lakeside populations in Tanzania has been successful. Deliberate efforts to liberalize waterway services and institutions to improve human capacity have contributed to the provision of a viable transportation option for goods and passengers through the private sector, particularly on Lake Victoria, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Nyasa. A foreign-owned merchant navy provides services to the primary ports of Dar es Salaam, Mtwara, and Tanga, and Zanzibar. Though growth opportunities exist in the ports of Mwanza and Kigoma, major ports have seen large-scale expansion in recent years, with Dar es Salaam seeing an almost four fold increase in container traffic from 124,700 teus in 2000 to 476,700 teus in 2011. A major port development by the China Merchants Group in Bagamayo is also under discussion for 2014.

TAKING FLIGHT

Tanzania's aviation industry is undergoing unprecedented expansion. Following the liberalization of air transport in 1992, 29 air carriers have been licensed for scheduled and chartered services. Bilateral agreements with Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa, Switzerland, Iran, the UK, and the US, plus a daily intercontinental flight with KLM confirm rising interest in Tanzania's air infrastructure. Additionally, firm regulation from the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) guarantees requisite safety levels from the country's airlines. National carrier ATC is a privatized entity, and scope for outside investment lies in chartered flights for mining, tourism, and construction of infrastructure for the rapidly expanding network of provincial airports, though the latter is also ably executed by the Tanzanian Airport Authority (TAA). The objectives of National Transport Policy dictate that regional airports have the capacity for aircraft of 70 to 100 passengers, while those near borders should handle 150-passenger craft. Crucially, border airports such as Songea, Arusha, Kigoma, and Mwanza, are being expanded, ensuring Tanzania's dynamic status as a regional transport center. A new terminal in Julius Nyerere International funded by the Royal BAM Group of Holland at $164 million, and will ultimately boost capacity to 6 million passengers, notably above the 2 million mark recorded in 2012.