<p style="text-align: justify;">Feb 4, 2017: Tanzania has signed a deal worth $1.215 billion with a consortium of Turkish and Portuguese companies to construct a 300-kilometre railway line, part of plans by the east African country to boost trade with its land-locked neighbours, according to recent report from Reuters.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In total, Tanzania wants to build a 2.561 kilometre standard gauge railway network connecting its main Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to eastern and southern Africa's hinterland.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The port's vast hinterland loops in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In a statement, state-run railway firm, Reli Assets Holding Company (RAHCO), said it had signed an agreement with a joint venture of Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi and Portugal's Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construção África, S.A, according to the report.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The firm said construction of the railway line would start next month and take 30 months to be completed.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">It did not give details on how the infrastructure project would be financed but last July Tanzania said it had secured a $7.6 billion loan from China's Export-Import Bank (Exim) to build part of the new railway network.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Tanzanian government officials said 40 foreign companies had initially expressed interest in the project, but only the Turkish-Portuguese consortium submitted a bid and was picked.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">RAHCO said winners of bids for four other tenders for construction of additional standard gauge railway lines covering about 1,000 kilometre would be announced in April.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Last month Tanzania also asked for a loan from state-owned Export Credit Bank of Turkey (Eximbank) to help finance a 400 km stretch of new railway.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Tanzanian government sources said Chinese companies would probably be awarded tenders for construction of other sections of the railway line, concludes the report.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>Source: Reuters</strong></p>