Lobito Atlantic Railway begins operations on Angola's key rail corridor

Lobito Atlantic Railway begins operations on Angola's key rail corridor
© Presidence_RDC (Twitter)

The Lobito Atlantic Railway consortium will now be responsible for the operation, management, and maintenance of the vital rail infrastructure, which spans some 1,300 kilometers.

Angola's Municipality of Lobito has marked the start of the transfer of the concession for rail services and supporting logistics on the Lobito Corridor to Lobito Atlantic Railway.  The consortium, consisting of Trafigura Pte Ltd, Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa SA, and Vecturis SA, will take over the operation, management, and maintenance of the approximately 1,300-kilometer rail infrastructure. The Lobito Corridor connects the port of Lobito with Luau, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The 30-year concession is expected to increase intra-African exports and stimulate economic and social development.

The Lobito railway, stretching for nearly 1,300 kilometers across Angola, extends a further 400 kilometers into the heart of the DRC's Copperbelt, connecting with the National Railway Society of the Congo (SNCC) network. The Lobito Atlantic Railway consortium aims to capitalise on this strategic corridor and facilitate the transport of goods and materials. The consortium's vision includes extending the corridor to Zambia, thereby boosting trade within the region.

Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço expressed optimism about the concession and said: "The Lobito Corridor which links Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and whose concession we have given today provides for its extension to Zambia, will certainly boost intra-African exports which currently account for only 14% of the total exports for the rest of the world. Figures like this show us the importance and necessity of putting our infrastructure at the service of the economic and social development of our countries and our continent.”

The consortium has outlined ambitious investment plans, with an anticipated investment of USD 455 million in Angola and up to USD 100 million in the DRC. This funding will facilitate the purchase of wagons and locomotives, establish training centres and support local hiring. In addition, future investment opportunities will be explored to extend the railway into Zambia, further increasing its transformative impact in the region.

The development of the rail corridor is expected to bring a number of benefits, including improved safety, faster passenger transport within Angola, and reduced congestion at the port of Lobito. Offering an alternative to congested East African ports will enable faster export and import routes to Europe and the Americas. 

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