The port in Luanda is to see the resumption of rail freight after a twenty year stoppage. The cargo will be moved 155 miles in land from the Angolan capital to the city of Malanje. The network will also connect the Boa Vista port to the industrial hub lying 26 miles to the east in the city of Viana. The rail infrastructure aims to reduce the burden on the surrounding roads and increase the levels of distribution of incoming cargo, it is hoped the lines will carry 615,000 metric tonnes of freight annually.
The commercial director at Caminho de Ferro de Luanda EP, Issac Mateus, was hopeful that the refurbished lines would ease the congested roads currently under strain from the ongoing high levels of construction. He said “Now that we have a railway at the port, we hope that companies will start using this means of transport instead of trucks and road haulage.”
The restoration of the railway infrastructure in and around the Angolan capital has come from $200 million dollars of Government investment and loans and the importation of large skilled labour forces from within the borders and from China. Whilst a specific date is yet to be announced the routes are due to be operational at some time during the month of March and will primarily carry fuels and energy supplies like butane (used for cooking) and diesel out of Luanda and carry farming produce in to the city’s inhabitants.
The operating contracts are currently in the latter stages of negations with the transport and haulage arm of state oil company Sonangol. (Sonangol Distribuidora).
The rebuilding and development of the wider rail network has been a focus of efforts since the cessation of civil war with a number of projects recently announced to provide more frequent and further reaching connections for passengers and freight. This latest operation coincides with initiatives announced in February to purchase 100 locomotives from the US Group General Electric, a fleet of engines which will be used to export oil out of Angola by rail and on to some her neighboring countries.