Congo-Angola rail gets boost as investors order 275 wagons

COMMODITIES trader Trafigura is among a group of investors which has ordered 275 container wagons as part of a $500m rail investment linking mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia with Angola’s Lobito port.

Bloomberg News said investment in the Lobito corridor will improve delivery times for minerals critical to the energy transition. The group behind the investment, known as Lobito Atlantic Railway, also includes Portugal-based construction company Mota-Engil SGPS SA and railway operator Vecturis SA, said the newswire.

The US and EU, under the Group of Seven’s Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, are supporting the project as part of efforts to counter China’s dominance in the central African copperbelt.

The US International Development Finance Corporation’s board on June 5 approved a $553m loan to Lobito Atlantic Railway. The US lender had initially planned a $250m loan to the group, which aims to cut cargo transit times from Congo to Lobito to days from the weeks it can take using other routes, said Bloomberg News.

Galison Manufacturing in South Africa is producing the wagons and will deliver the first set by the end of the year.

The Africa Finance Corporation is the lead developer of a planned new connection that will link mines in Zambia to the existing Lobito line in Angola. Italy committed $320m to finance that project, according to a June 13 White House statement.