Lobito, Angola, 4 July 2023 – Today, a ceremony took place hosted by the Municipal Administration of Lobito to mark the commencement of the transfer of the concession of railway services and support logistics of the Lobito Corridor to Lobito Atlantic Railway, the company that will take over the operation, management and maintenance of the rail infrastructure for the transport of goods for the corridor that runs for approximately 1,300 km, connecting the Lobito port to Luau, in eastern Angola, close to the border of the DRC.
The Lobito railway extends across Angola for almost 1,300km and then continues for 400km into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Kolwezi, the heart of the Copperbelt. It also connects with the extensive rail network run by the National Railway Society of the Congo (SNCC). The 30-year concession has been awarded to the Lobito Atlantic Railway consortium joint venture company comprising Trafigura Pte Ltd (“Trafigura”), a market leader in the global commodities industry, Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao Africa SA (“Mota-Engil”), an international construction and infrastructure management company and Vecturis SA, an independent rail operator.
The President of the Republic of Angola João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, today 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. And we are doing so with vision, purpose and clearly defined objectives.”
Angola’s Minister of Transport Ricardo Viegas d’Abreu, stated that the Lobito Corridor is a powerful infrastructure which definitively marks the image of Angola to the world, namely with private investors and financial entities from the United States, Europe and other geographies.
“We see the Lobito rail corridor as a partnership between the private and public sectors. A partnership of three countries – Angola, the DRC and Zambia and of three companies – Trafigura, Vecturis and Mota-Engil,” said Jeremy Weir speaking on behalf of the Lobito Atlantic Railway concession companies during today’s ceremony. “Together, we have a shared vision of creating the most important logistics corridor in sub-Saharan Africa. Our project will not only create a western route to market for goods and materials. We believe the Lobito rail corridor has huge potential to boost the development of sectors along the line including heavy industry, agriculture and mining, creating new jobs and new opportunities.
We believe the Lobito railway will be a catalyst for growth and investment in Angola, the DRC, Zambia and the wider region. It is a vision shared by these countries which have already signed an agreement to accelerate growth in domestic and cross-border trade along the corridor. Indeed, the fact that His Excellency President Lourenco, His Excellency President Tshisekedi and His Excellency President Hichilema are here today, underscores their commitment to developing and utilising this railway for the benefit of the entire region,” concluded Jeremy Weir.
Realising the full potential of the railway will require significant investment by the consortium. This will include securing 1,555 wagons and 35 locomotives for the Angolan side of the corridor alone. The concession is also committed to investing in training and skills – with dedicated training centres already in place at Huambo and Lobito – and local recruitment getting underway.
Overall, the consortium plans to invest USD455 million in Angola and up to USD100 million in the DRC and there is the potential for additional investment in the future as the opportunity is explored to extend the line further into Zambia, thereby extending its benefits even further across the region.
Commercial, environmental and safety benefits
The railway will provide a faster and safer route for passengers using the CFB Benguela Railway service within Angola. It will be linked to a congestion-free port in Lobito, providing an alternative to east African ports where long delays and bottlenecks are commonplace. Lobito will also provide the fastest export and import route from the region to Europe and the Americas. For the mining industry specifically, the railway offers the shortest and most direct route to port from the key mining district of Kolwezi in the DRC where exports of copper, cobalt and other raw materials are growing rapidly and will be in high demand for many years to come as the energy transition gathers pace.
The development of the rail corridor also promises environmental and safety benefits by helping remove trucks from the road which should reduce border delays, the risk of road traffic accidents and road degradation, as well as cutting air pollution and carbon emissions.
For further information please contact:
Mota-Engil Press Office: Pedro Arrais, Tel: +351 214 158 576 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Trafigura Press Office: +41 (0) 22 592 45 28 or email@example.com
Vecturis Press Office: Eric Pfeiffer, Tel: +32 (2) 626.26.87 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Founded in 1946, with Angola as the first market where Mota-Engil started its operations, today the Mota-Engil Group is a multinational company with operations focused on construction and infrastructure management in the segments of engineering and construction, environment and services, transport concessions and energy.
With a turnover of EUR2,592 m in 2021, Mota-Engil is headquartered in Portugal and ranked as the 25th largest construction group in Europe. The Group employs 41,000 people and is present in 25 countries in Europe, Africa and Latin America.
Founded in 1993, Trafigura is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world. At the heart of global supply, Trafigura connects the world with the vital resources it needs. Through our Oil & Petroleum Products, Metals & Minerals, and Power & Renewables divisions, we deploy infrastructure, skills and a global network to move commodities from where they are plentiful to where they are needed most, forming strong relationships that make supply chains more efficient, secure and sustainable.
Trafigura also owns and operates a number of industrial assets including global multi-metals producer Nyrstar and fuel storage and distribution company Puma Energy; and joint ventures Impala Terminals, a port and logistics provider, and Nala Renewables, a power and renewable energy investment and development platform. Trafigura is owned by its employees and employs over 13,000 people working in 48 countries.
Vecturis is an independent railway operator with more than 25 years of experience managing and revitalising railways, mainly long-distance corridors in sub-Saharan Africa. Headquartered in Belgium, Venturis has multidisciplinary teams located in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and South Africa. Vecturis has managed, on behalf of the DRC government, and the Société Nationale des Chemins de fer Congo (SNCC), to execute around USD500 million of funding, mobilized from the World Bank. Vecturis has gained unparalleled knowledge of Congolese actors, the local freight market and the conditions of operation of the railway in the Copperbelt region.