The troubled Tanzania-Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) is seeking a $100m loan from the two governments to help clear outstanding debts and upgrade infrastrucutre.

The bilaterally owned TAZARA has a debt of nearly $60m and has not paid its employees for several months.

The railway plans to use $60m for debt clearance and $40m for renovation and technology modernisation.

The 1,860km TAZARA rail line is integral to the Southern Africa Regional Rail Transport Network and serves as the main export route for Zambian copper to the port of Dar es Salaam.

The line runs from sea level at the port of Dar es Salaam to New Kapiri Mposhi at 1,400m above sea level in central Zambia.

The rail line was built in 1975 as a turnkey project and was financed by a $500m interest-free loan from China.

The railway is also in talks with China for a $39m loan to help renew operations.