Benguela railroad in Angola reopens after 27-year stoppage

31 August 2011

Luanda, Angola, 31 Aug – after a stoppage of 27 years the Benguela Railroad (CFB), which has been refurbished and modernised, between the port fo Lobito and the Planalto Central (Central Plateau) and with capacity to carry over 4 million passengers per year and 20 million tons of cargo, was inaugurated by Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos.

The Benguela Railroad begins at the port of Lobito and extends over 1,344 kilometres to the East, crossing the provinces of Huambo and Bié to the Eastern border, in Moxico province, with the democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Throughout its time the railroad was the most powerful driver of progress in the Central Plateau area of Angola and made it possible to combat human desertification in vast tracts of the country’s interior.

Reconstruction of this railroad, funded by a credit line provided by the Chinese government, was awarded in 2006 to the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation (CR-20).

The Benguela Railroad, as well as covering a vast area of Angola, is an important way of transporting goods to land-locked countries that border Angola.

For decades the railroad was the chosen route for transporting copper from the Catanga mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Of the traffic heading towards the coast the most notable is copper, cobalt, manganese and zinc ore from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Goods traffic includes agricultural products from the interior of Angola, fuel, construction materials, preserved goods, salt and fish.

The Caminho-de-Ferro de Benguela company was founded on 27 November, 1902 via a Decree that authorised concession of land for construction of a railroad from Lobito to Angola’s Eastern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. (macauhub)