Freight train Angola

Public tender Lobito Corridor open until 7 December

Private operators interested in the operation, management, and maintenance of the Lobito Corridor have until 7 December 2021 to present their investment proposals. This African railway line stretches from Lobito to Luau and will be a vital link between the copper and cobalt mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia, and the Atlantic.

On 8 September, the Angolan government launched a public tender for the concession of the infrastructure developments. The winner of the tender will take on responsibilities relating to the operation, management and maintenance of the railway infrastructure and service transporting goods between Lobito/Luau, as well as railway workshops, for a period of 30 years (extendable to 50 years).

Shorter route to the world

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia have 34 per cent of the world’s cobalt reserves and over 10 per cent of global copper reserves. Through the Lobito Corridor, named after the Angolan port of Lobito, this cargo will find a shorter route to the world. Raw materials from the region are currently exported via the ports of Durban (South Africa) and/or Dar-Es-Salaam (Tanzania); routes up to four times longer than the route between the mining regions and the Port of Lobito.

With the Lobito Corridor, a connection will be established between a pre-existing rail link with the DRC and a branch connecting the Municipality of Luacano (Moxico) and the Jimbe Border Post (Angola/Zambia border) at the earliest opportunity, therefore providing direct rail access to the Zambian Copperbelt, which is in the Southern Sub-Region of the African Continent.

Unprecedented

Private entities being allowed to participate in rail freight transport in the Lobito Corridor is an unprecedented opportunity in both Angolan transport systems and those operating in the wider region. The Angolan government seeks to attract operators specialised in logistics and cargo equipped to manage, maintain and introduce technical improvements to the infrastructure’s operations, as stated repeatedly by the Republic of Angola’s Minister of Transport, Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu.

The purpose of the concession is to ensure the economic viability of the Lobito Corridor railway infrastructure, in compliance with the terms established in the Contract Provisions and concession contract to be signed, and the application of the best international practices.

Largo cargo

The winning entity will also transport large cargo, among which minerals and fuels shall predominate, along the 1300 km of the railway that cuts through Angolan soil, with recourse to a Special-Purpose Entity (a private company managed by private operators, with minority participation of the State). It is believed that this concession will allow the Lobito Corridor to become the third most important transport link in Southern Africa by 2050.

Interested parties can gain more information about the Public Tender for the Concession of the
Lobito Corridor here.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of RailFreight.com, online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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