Chinese companies CITIC and CR20 are competing for the management and maintenance of the Lobito Corridor in Angola, along with Portuguese builder Mota-Engil, partly owned by China’s CCCC.
According to a note from the Port of Lobito, other than Mota-Engil, CITIC and CR20, interested parties include Swiss company Trafigura and DP World, of Dubai, which won the concession of the Port of Luanda for the next 20 years.
Beginning a series of technical visits to see the current state of operation of the infrastructures, the representatives of the companies visited the general workshops of the Benguela Railroad (CFB), as well as the Mining Terminal at the Port of Lobito, also part of the international tender for the concession.
The delegation, which included representatives of CFB and ‘Empresa Portuária do Lobito’, later took a special train to Luau to visit the main infrastructures located along the railway line, passing through the provinces of Huambo, Bié and the city of Luena.
The international tender for the concession, shared management, railroad infrastructure maintenance, goods transport and logistics support services for the Lobito Corridor was launched on 8 September. The deadline for submitting proposals is December 7.
The government wants to create a private capital company, a Specific Purpose Company (SPE), to be controlled by private operators or by a single entity with minority state investment.
The SPE will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Lobito/Luau railway infrastructure, with the possibility of building a branch line to Zambia; the rail freight service on the Lobito/Luau railway; construction, operation and maintenance of two merchandise transit terminals to support the railroad service of merchandise transport on the Lobito/Luau railway, one of them in Lobito and the other in Luau; management of the training centre in Huambo province and maintenance and operation of the railroad workshops.
The concession lasts 30 years, during which time the concession holder (SPE) will take on the transport of large cargoes, mainly ore and fuel, whilst the public passenger and small cargo transport service will remain under the management of Benguela Railway.
According to information published on the Angolan government website, the aim is to maximise the potential of the Lobito Corridor railway infrastructure, boost exports and indirect investments in multimodal platforms, terminals and other infrastructures along the line, to “promote the economic, social and cultural development of local communities.
The reactivation of the Lobito Corridor also aims to boost regional integration taking into account the possibility of interconnecting the Atlantic and Indian Oceans with the railroad’s connection to the Port of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
Operation of the Lobito Corridor involves additional investment along the Lobito/Benguela/Luau railway route, including integration of the adjoining railway on the other side of the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo and construction of a branch line to Zambia.
According to the government, some USD 1.9 billion has recently been invested in rebuilding the railway and the link with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), whose profits may now have the opportunity to be recovered.