The railway is estimated to cost $US 1.9 billion of the overall $US 2.7 billion project which also includes port and dock construction and is intended to improve East African freight transit. The existing 400km Central Corridor railway in Tanzania that runs from Tanga to Arusha will be upgraded, with an additional 400km of track to be built to Musoma.
Kenya similarly plans to improve its rail links to Uganda through an upgrade of the metre-gauge railway from Mombasa to Kampala. Tanzania and Uganda are seeking $US 250 million of fresh capital for the project after The Rift Valley Railways consortium which formed in 2006 failed to raise the necessary funding to revitalise the route.
Freight on the line has dropped to 1.8 million tonnes per year from 4.8 million tonnes since the 1980s while freight volume at Mombasa port has grown to 19 million tonnes from 7 million during the same period.