Angola Rail Transportation Sector
In October 2021, Angola launched a public tender for the concession of the Lobito railway line, and in July 2022, it was awarded to the European consortium, Mota Engil/Trafigura/Vecturis, which will develop and maintain the line for the next 30 years with the possibility of extension up to 50 years. There is considerable potential for U.S. companies to be involved in the development of surrounding areas.
The consortium is made up of Mota Engil, a Portuguese construction company that has been in Angola for about 70 years and is one of the main players in the Angolan market; the Swiss multinational Trafigura, which is one of the main world ‘traders’ in the area of ‘commodities’; and Vecturis, a railway operator of Belgian origin, with strong rail transport activity (passengers, ores and commercial cargo) in African countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Algeria.
The Lobito Corridor has its starting point at the deep-water Port of Lobito and crosses the Angolan territory in an extension of 1,300 kilometers. The line heads east to the mining regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Katanga province and the so-called copper belt in Zambia.
This important rail transport line will have a strong impact on the region, as it will most likely be the main point for the flow of all agricultural and mineral products that extends along the corridor, which may bring a greater appetite for companies and investors from the United States. With this solution, the products transported from the three connected countries will be able to be shipped through the Port of Lobito, connected to the Atlantic Ocean, instead of the Indian Ocean, as is the case through the port of Dar Es Salaam.
Benguela, Huambo, Bie and Moxico are the Angolan provinces that are within the corridor from Lobito to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. These provinces hold a lot of potential and opportunities for U.S and foreign investment.
Several mineral resources are associated with these four provinces along the Lobito Corridor from ornamental stones such as granite, limestone, clays, diamonds, iron, magnetite, quartz, manganese, barium, phosphate, wolfram, kaolin, graphite, gold, and copper, among others.
These regions are also known for their arable land and capacity for agriculture, livestock, and forest reserves. Benguela also has the advantage of being a coastal province where hotels and tourism are among its most attractive factors.
All these opportunities can now be leveraged with the entry of the new rail concessionaire in the operations of the Lobito Corridor. U.S companies interested are encouraged to contact Commercial Assistant, Mauro Fonseca, U.S. Commercial Service, Angola at Mauro.Fonseca@trade.gov.