Trains bought by Tazara from China using $24m Chinese loan fail to run

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Six locomotives bought by the Tanzania Zambia Railway Corporation (Tazara) through a $24 million loan from China are said to have failed several trial runs, According to the East African

The locomotives were supposed to boost the corporation’s operations by increasing the tonnage hauled along the 1,860 kilometre stretch between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia.

A source at Tazara said that during the first trial run, one of the engines developed technical problems at Mzenga, the first railway station on the Tazara line, just outside Dar es Salaam.

“These engines were delivered at the last Chinese holiday sometime in December; unfortunately none of them has passed a trial run,” the source said.

Tazara currently has nine old locomotives in operation.

Both regional offices of Tazara had been tasked to increase the amount of cargo they haul from 30,000 tonnes to 80,000 tonnes a month under the performance contracts signed by the regional managers in Tanzania and Zambia, but further delays in getting the locomotives operational is likely to hamper the achievement of these ambitious targets.

“Even after the Chinese technical team brought in a different team to look afresh at the locos, nothing worked. They tried running two engines that failed to make it past Mbeya and one of the engines has been abandoned at our workshop there,” said the source.

The $24 million paid for the locomotives is part of the $39 million that was given to the ailing railway company jointly owned by the Chinese government under the 14th Protocol of Economic and Technical Co-operation, signed by the governments of China, Tanzania and Zambia in December 2009.

Tazara gets $42m boost from China

Tanzania’s Minister for Transport, Harrison Mwakyembe, told The EastAfrican that the locomotives had been supplied after a Chinese company won the tender.

“I have been told about the technical problems, but you need to speak to our technicians and engineers who  would be in a better position to explain in detail the technical problems. It appears the engines can’t cope with the Tazara terrain,” said Dr Mwakyembe.

According to Tazara’s head of public relations Conrad K. Simuchile, the corporation was aware the manufacturer was facing challenges in putting the new locomotives into operation, but said there was no need “at this stage to be overly concerned because the locomotives are going through a normal trial process after delivery….  and they are still fully in the hands of the manufacturer, who has ample time to rectify the defects, if any.”

The Tazara management last November announced the acquisition of the six new diesel electric (DE) mainline locomotives from China and the re-commissioning of two out of four heavy duty gantry cranes, which was seen as a major boost to the operations of Tazara.

The two projects marked a major step towards the completion of the implementation of capacity building projects under the Protocol. All projects under the 14th Protocol were originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2011, but encountered difficulties.

The six 3,000-horsepower DE locomotives were manufactured in China under licence from the General Electric Company of the US.

Comments Closed

38 Responses to Trains bought by Tazara from China using $24m Chinese loan fail to run


    wemo - April 14, 2013

  2. When we frankly talk about the ills of some nations/nationals then we we termed as racists. The fact is we are just tired of this nosense. Go to Kamwala and other places in the country you will find these unsightly products from china. Zambia Bureu of Standards is impotent

    Mule - April 14, 2013

  3. Mapenzi anjila muchisi

    Husen - April 13, 2013

  4. china is congested so you will get the worst all the time full stop.

    tembo elias - April 13, 2013

  5. What is Prof. chilwa saying ??

    Exhaust Blown Diffuser - April 12, 2013

    • Is Prof. Chirwa the MD for Tazara or Zambia Railways? Is Tazara the same company as Zambia Railways? Check your facts. This is your Grade 7 homework!

      joshua - April 12, 2013

      • Joshua Some people just write without thinking what has Tazara got to do with Pro Chirwa Tazara and Zambia Railway are two different companies. Exhaust Blown Diffuser, give me your number I ask my son who is in Grade seven to give you crash program in general knowledge.

        brian - April 12, 2013

        • Hey , proffessionals exchange notes!! They are not supposed to live in shells.

          kim - April 14, 2013

  6. Chinese buses like the higer are equally a nuisance. Ask the bus operators that bought them

    observer - April 12, 2013

  7. Get replacements that work period.

    stamma - April 12, 2013

  8. somebody pliz deal with these homos ruining the country pf fagots

    terrence cole - April 12, 2013

  9. what do you expect from a group of thieves thats what they do i m sure the big thug is saying how i longed to steal steal all over somebody please deal with these maggots

    terrence cole - April 12, 2013

  10. They gave us a loan to buy trains from their country which cannot start or move. Take the trains back to china, get the money and buy from somewhere else where they make strong things Britain or Germany. These trains are not a free gift from china but they have been bought with loaned money which will be paid back. We cannot accept plastic trains which will end up killing people just because we want to keep friendship with china. Have you ever seen anything made in china sold in any of the African countries last long, all their things are made from very cheap material but when they make for Britain, USA or Germany they use strong material and durable things. They think we are all that dull not to know their tricks, return the trains we want our loan to buy somewhere else.

    Kr - April 12, 2013

    • if i could i wud shake yo hand…the chinse have done it again

      suave - April 13, 2013

  11. buy genune ones from britain or gemany….

    solar system - April 12, 2013

  12. Mwami mwami mwami, aah, china chi train chaku china cha knocker anso. cha knocker pa side pa mapili ya pa Mbeya! sibanga gong’e ma lupili ya mu africa.

    Muzukuzemba - April 12, 2013

  13. Much of the items if they are made in china please expect it to be lower than the standered we want I don’t understand why Chinese products are of poor quality.phones,computer power suplies to mention but a fewporr standards.

    Stywell - April 12, 2013

  14. no repairs on site , please bring new ones from the parent compay in the usa
    uncle dex

    uncle dex - April 12, 2013

  15. Eish this is scary especially that they want to run Zambia airways. They may end up saying the air in Zambia is not condusive for the dreamliner boeing 787 that is why the engine failed before take off. Ba Chinese mwandi comments reserved….

    form four - April 12, 2013

  16. And you want them to run Zambia Airways?

    eagle's eye - April 12, 2013

  17. TRAINS.. are they here for training? train them

    Thy Kingdom Come - April 12, 2013

  18. Ma chonchori sibangagonge ma zambians,i think its just a small problem which wil be sorted out soon.Dont panic just mantain.

    EZRON - April 12, 2013

  19. China made are always gonga

    Exhaust Blown Diffuser - April 12, 2013

    • atleast they are a productive people. what do u make yourself?

      cleo - April 12, 2013

    • I produce cement, process copper, make electric cables, process crude oil @ indeni even make you mosi & castle beer

      Exhaust Blown Diffuser - April 12, 2013

  20. invoke the warranty and guarantee provisions kaili.

    Twabwela - April 12, 2013

  21. Weldone Aka

    Martin - April 12, 2013

  22. We have our own Professor (Chirwa), why not offer him a go at them?

    Rusco - April 12, 2013

  23. They look old and agry in this age

    Martino - April 12, 2013

    • Ugry or ugly and what you seeing in the picture is not what was bought get the facts

      zakaro - April 12, 2013

  24. For any product in china yoi get what you want that is GOOD QUALITY AND BAD smeone somewher chewed commission and compromised on quality

    zakaro - April 12, 2013

  25. Africa

    kashinakaji - April 12, 2013

  26. They will be replaced. full stop

    muni - April 12, 2013

    • Replaced with wats Dont accept or even think about replacement.
      With due respect chinese equipment is simply not good yet. Hear this government wants to even import cars and such from China!!!Even as a free gift reconsider as operating such will take alot of maintenance time and spares- all cost money.By the way where is all that equipment Levy bought from same plce?? Go to ZNS after Makeni And see wats happening.
      Mobile Chinese things return much less than cost before they breakdown irreparably

      kim - April 14, 2013

  27. now, being brought up in an environment that lacks engineering, scientific and mathematical traditions, one can only feel pity for natives’ ‘blind lead’ efforts. even sustainance of engineering jobs, for individuals is through somewhat manipulation of parliament to indose protective laws, abait stemming technology transfer.

    'e' the independent f(x) - April 12, 2013

  28. the highest hurdle in zambian developmental aspirations is the education system which produces qualifications which like unfertelised eggs. hence devoid of embryonic reactions in the development cutting edge,

    'e' the independent f(x) - April 12, 2013

  29. if people listened to what i was saying, and assessed and evaluated what i was doing in the seventies, by this time, perhaps, such kind of crap wouldn’t be head of.

    'e' the independent f(x) - April 12, 2013

  30. china in africa

    lola - April 12, 2013