The Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) has launched a cargo service to Uganda through the Lake Victoria ports of Mwanza and Port Bell.
The train will connect the port of Dar es Salaam to Uganda through Tabora and Isaka in western Tanzania, then Mwanza port by ships plying the lake.
TRC’s terminal at the Dar es Salaam port can handle 4.1 million tonnes of dry cargo and six million tonnes of bulk liquid cargo.
It serves Malawi, Zambia, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.
Uganda is building a new port on Bukasa island and rehabilitating the 11km road from Port Bell to Kampala as well as refurbishing 250 train wagons to transport goods through the Central Corridor.
Tanzania is developing roads, ports and railways to attract more business.
Dar es Salaam has a cargo ship, MV Umoja, for Uganda-destined cargo while Uganda has MV Kaawa.
Each ship can carry up to 880 tonnes in 44 and 20 feet containers, taking 17 hours from Mwanza to Port Bell.
The Tanzania Port Authority said the rates will increase to $70 from $60 per tonne for containers from Uganda transported through Port Bell in Luzira via Mwanza to Dar es Salaam, while containers from the Dar es Salaam Port via Mwanza to Kampala will be charged $75.
TRC acting director-general Focas Makoye said that 15,000 tonnes of foodstuff from the World Food Programme will be ferried from Dar es Salaam to Uganda at the end of July.
“We are working with the Uganda Railways Corporation to open up the Kampala route,” he said.
Tanzania is expected to build a standard gauge railway to replace the central line built in 1911.