Tanzania high speed railway a major boon for Turkish engineers

At least 1000 Turkish engineers will work on the project. Photo: Courtesy
At least 1000 Turkish engineers will work on the project. Photo: Courtesy
Turkish construction firm Yapi Merkezi will hire at least 1000 engineers to help set up a 336-km high-speed electric railway line between Morogoro and Makutupora in central Tanzania.

This follows the signing of a Sh200 billion ($1.92 billion) deal with the Tanzanian government to undertake the project that includes the replacement of the existing century-old narrow gauge line with a new standard-gauge railway line.

According to the firm’s vice chairman Erdem Arioglu, the deal to build the second phase of the 1,224-km standard gauge railway that will eventually connect Dar es Salaam to Mwanza, is “one of the biggest agreements signed by a single Turkish contractor abroad”.

“We will single handedly build a near 336-kilometer-long railway network, complete with infrastructure and technology,” Mr Arioglu said in a press interview.

In February, Yapi Merkezi and Portugal’s Mota-Engil Africa were jointly awarded a Sh125 billion ($1.2 billion) contract to build phase one of the Tanzania standard gauge railway line from Dar es Salaam to Morogoro. Work on the section is on-going.

Tanzania State-run railway firm Reli Assets Holding Company said Yapi Merkezi fulfilled all the financial and technical requirements for the second phase of the project – which received 15 bids from international contractors.

Yapi Merkezi, which is ranked 78th on the list of world’s largest contractors, is a key player in the mega infrastructure development sector and has already built railways and light-rail systems in Morocco, Tanzania, Senegal, Ethiopia and Algeria.

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The company will be in charge of design works, infrastructure erection, track laying, signalization, communication systems, spare parts provision, rail electrification and personnel training for the Tanzania SGR project.

The new railway, which will be completed in 36 months, is designed to support maximum speeds of 160km per hour for passenger trains and 120km per hour for freight.

The facility will have the capacity to convey 17 million tonnes of cargo a year.

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