Freight charges to drop 40pc when SGR starts operation

Technicians work on a section of the SGR project. A top bank official says freight charges will go down by up to 40 percent when the railway becomes operational.

Photo | FILE

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The modern railway will also be able to haul up to 10, 000 tonnes of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries per trip to have a positive impact on the country’s economy in the future.

Arusha. Freight charges in Tanzania will decrease by 40 percent when the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) becomes operational, a top bank official has said.

The modern railway will also be able to haul up to 10,000 tonnes of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries, per trip.

“Through connecting Tanzania with Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it would enhance regional trade,” said Sanjay Rughani, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania.

He told the bank’s clients and business stakeholders here on Tuesday evening that the multi-million dollar project has already created more than 8,000 direct jobs to the locals.

Mr Rughani, who led a team of senior bank officials to the northern regions, hinted that SGR will have a positive impact on the country’s economy in the next 200 years and more, adding;

“It is expected that the railway will address current congestion challenges, particularly in cargo transportation from the ports,” he said.

In August 2018, the UK-based Standard Chartered Bank Group and the government signed a facility agreement for a $1.46 billion (Sh3.3 trillion) term loan financing to fund the construction of SGR project from Dar es Salaam to Makutupora (Dodoma).

Running for approximately 550 kilometres, it would be among the mega infrastructure projects to be implemented in Tanzania in recent years.

Before signing of an agreement, Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania acted as a global coordinator and lead arranger.

He described the deal as “the largest foreign currency financing” with an individual bank ever to be raised by the ministry of Finance and Planning

According to him, the biggest component of financing will come from the Export Credit Agencies of Denmark and Sweden

“For Standard Chartered Tanzania, this is not just a normal funding. It is about changing lives of Tanzanians”, he pointed out.

The meeting between the bank’s top management and clients/business stakeholders was graced by a cocktail party during which the latter were briefed on the digitalization drive.

According to Edwin Mahehela, Arusha branch manager the financial institution has already started to benefit from the Social Banking Solution (SG Keyboard) launched last year. The digital solution allows clients to transfer money in real time, pay utility bills and instantly check balances.