The aim of this project is to rehabilitate the multi-modal Lobito Corridor from Lobito on the Atlantic through Lubumbashi in the DRC to the Zambian Copperbelt. The Lobito Corridor of Lobito is an important array of integrated infrastructure, mainly in the sectors of transportation and communication. The multimodal Lobito Corridor comprises not only the Benguela railway, but also the port, roads, airports and logistic platforms. An estimated 40% of the population of Angola lives within the catchment area of this corridor.
The railway system is a main component in the Lobito Corridor. Historically, it was one of the busiest transportation routes in Southern / Central Africa. The Benguela Railway was the main carrier along the Corridor of a whole range of produce from within and outside the region, including copper, cobalt, coal zinc, lead, timber, sugar, maize, coffee, etc. During the Angola civil war railway activity ceased and due to insecurity in the 1990s, the section of the railway in the DRC stopped operations from 1997. When these operations were suspended, Zambia was forced to seek longer routes (including via ports of Dar es Salaam, Beria, and Durban in South Africa) for exportation of its copper and its many other produce.
The rehabilitation of the Benguela railway started in 2006 and was completed in 2013. It runs from the port of Lobito to the Luau-Dilolo border post between Angola and DRC, a stretch of 1344 km. It includes not just the tracks but also locomotives, wagons and 70 railway stations and warehouses. The railway is not operational on the DRC side of the border. Zambia has begun work to plan a new railway track from the copper belt running through the Angola / Zambia border and connecting with the Benguela railway at Luena. Once operational, the Lobito Corridor will constitute the shortest route to a port (Lobito) for the Katanga region (South DRC) and the Copper Belt (North-western Zambia).
The Lobito Corridor also includes a significant road network from Lobito to DRC and Zambia through the Luau-Dilolo border post. The road also links with the road system in DRC at Kolwezi and a road from Luena (Angola) through Cazombo to Solwezi in Zambia. This is projected to become a highway called Trans-African Highway (TAH 9) running from Lobito to Beira in Mozambique.
The Port of Lobito has been modernized and expanded with a container terminal, a mineral terminal and an oil terminal. The government has invested US$1.2 billion and the. The rehabilitation and upgrading of the port has been completed. The port will have a capacity to move 3.7 million tonnes that will be expanded to 4.1 million when the Benguela Railway is working at its full potential.
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