TAZARA operates two types of freight trains i.e. through traffic and local traffic trains. Through traffic trains convey cargo originating from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to New Kapiri Mposhi in Zambia and vice versa. Local traffic trains convey intermediate cargo and may or may not cross the border. TAZARA also provides block train services and mixed train services which are designed to meet particular needs and requirements of the clients.
The TAZARA railway line is designed with a 1067mm-gauge, which allows through traffic operations with other Southern African railways, such as Spoornet of South Africa, Botswana Railways, National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zambia Railways Limited Namibia Railways, Mozambique Railways and Societe Nationale Des Chemins De Fer Du Congo Sarl (SNCC) of the DRC. Essentially, all railway networks in the Southern part of Africa can be accessed by TAZARA. With a designed capacity of five (5) million tonnes of freight per annum, TAZARA has been handling traffic for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), thereby providing a vital regional link amongst Southern, Eastern and Central African regions with the rest of the world through the port of Dar es Salaam.
TAZARA has modern cargo terminus, complete with gantry cranes and other handling facilities at New Kapiri Mposhi, Kasama, Makambako and Dar es Salaam stations. These facilities provide a quick and efficient means for exporters and importers from different regions of Africa to load and offload cargo onto and from TAZARA wagons. New Kapiri Mposhi handles cargo to and from the Southern and Central African regions, whilst Kasama covers the Great Lakes region. Similarly, Mbeya and Makambako cater for cargo from Malawi and some parts of the Great Lakes. With such spread of the TAZARA terminus, cargo is easily relayed from region to region. In addition, there is a privately owned trans-shipment facility at Kidatu that handles the transfer of cargo from the wider gauge (1,067mm) wagons of TAZARA onto the narrower gauge (1,000mm) wagons of the Tanzania Railways Limited (TRL) facilitating interconnectivity amongst Southern, Central and East Africa.