Chinese contractor delivers Benguela railway to the Angolan government

4 October 2019

The 1344-kilometre railway line between Lobito and Luau in Angola is capable of responding to the flow of passengers and goods over the next few years, the managing director of CR20 Angola International Company, the company responsible for rebuilding the line said on Thursday in the city of Lobito.

Han Shu Chen, who was speaking at the ceremony for the definitive delivery of the reconstruction works of the Benguela Railway (CFB) by the Ministry of Transport, held at Lobito’s first-class passenger station, gave assurances that the railway is now fully operational 10 years after the subsidiary of the China Railway 20 Bureau Group Corporation started work.

The managing director of CR20 Angola International Company stressed that the CFB became an international corridor linking the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, after last July the luxury train of South African tour operator Rovos Rail departed from Tanzania and across Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to reach Lobito.

Although the line has already been delivered to the Angolan authorities, Han Shu Chen said the company will continue to provide technical assistance for maintenance work, thus ensuring the safety and operation of the line alongside CFB, according to the Angop news agency.

“After the definitive delivery of the line, we will not leave CFB. We still have permanent teams along the line for maintenance work,” he said, giving assurances that, although long, the service life of this line depends on its maintenance.

Witnessed by the provincial deputy governor of Benguela for Technical Services and Infrastructures, Leopoldo Muhongo, the term of definitive reception of the reconstruction works of the Benguela Railway, written in Portuguese and Chinese, was signed by the director of the Angolan National Railways Institute, Ottoniel Daniel, CFB Chairman Luís Teixeira and China Railway CR20 contractor, Han Shu Chen.

After its total destruction caused by the civil war, in 2015 the CFB trains returned from Lobito to Luau, almost 30 years later. This was only possible thanks to the reconstruction of the line, a major undertaking that the government awarded in January 2006 to construction company CR-20, with an estimated cost of US$1.8 billion financed by a credit line from China.

CFB is 1,344 kilometres long from Lobito to Luau and has 67 stations and stops between the provinces of Benguela, Huambo, Bié and Moxico. The railway line currently has 48 locomotives purchased from the General Electric (GE Transportation) group and 66 carriages for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class passengers. (Macauhub)