Angola prepares for privatisation of railroads

26 March 2012

The Angolan government is to start merging the country’s main railroad companies, the reconstruction of which using lines of credit from China is almost finished, with a view to selling part of them to private investors.

“All the main Angolan railroads have been rebuilt over the last 10 years, with thousands of kilometres of new lines opened up, using funding from Chinese credit lines,” said the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its latest report on Angola.

Now, it said, the Luanda government, “plans to sell off commercial and operational aspects of the railroads to private companies, whilst keeping a controlling stake,“ in a new company called Caminhos de Ferro de Angola.

The Angolan state will keep ownership of the infrastructure and the operating companies will manage all the rail services.

The new company will be the result of merging the Benguela Railroad(CFB), the Luanda Railroad (CFL) and the Moçâmedes Railroad (CFM).

Reconstruction and expansion of CFM, involving 900 kilometres of track, is in its concluding stage following a large investment.

The railroad between Namibe and Menongue, which involved an investment of US$200 million over six years, is expected to be fully operational in April, whilst 1,300 kilometres of track between Lobito and Luau, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, are expected to be opened up to traffic by the end of the year.

The plan for Development of the Integrated Railroad System, approved by the Angolan government, outlines linking up three existing railroads to the railroad networks of neighbouring countries – The Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Namibia.

Thus, the Benguela Railroad (CFB) will be linked to Zambian Railways via a special branch-line between Luacano station, in Moxico province, and the new Lumwana line, under construction in Zambia.

The Namibe railway will be linked to the Namibian rail network, starting at Cuvango station stretching 343 kilometres as far as Oshikango, in Namibia, next to the border with Angola’s Cunene province.

Construction of the Congo railway line is being studied, which will link Luanda to the provinces of Bengo, Uíge, Zaire and Cabinda, stretching over 950 kilometres, then linking with Chemin de Fer du Congo Ocean, in Congo Brazzaville.

The railroads were the biggest recipients of investment in infrastructure reconstruction in Angola, which has been made possible by lines of credit supplied by China. (macauhub)