In Angola, the port of Lobito offers new business opportunities for southern Africa

In Angola, the privatization of the Atlantic port of Lobito and the Benguela Railway are opening up new business opportunities. These infrastructures are intended to revolutionize the landscape of southern Africa and offer the countries in the region an alternative for the transit of goods.

The Lobito Corridor is at the heart of the Angolan Ministry of Transport’s strategy. Spanning the port and railroad, it stretches for 1,300 kilometers in the heart of the African continent and is the fastest export route for copper, cobalt and other minerals mined in Zambia, the Republic of the Congo and beyond.

Lobito, an alternative to the Indian Ocean harbors

Located in the province of Benguela, which is to become the commercial epicenter of southern Africa, the port of Lobito is to become “an alternative to the coast of the Indian Ocean”, explains Pedro Neto, director of the consulting firm at EagleStone Investments.

If Lobito “is a serious opportunity to create a network on the Atlantic coast to import and export goods and products from Zambia DRC,” the port shouldn’t be limited to that, according to Pedro Neto.

“Since they could export copper and manganese from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia, you could also use Lobito to transport goods inland. There is an agricultural sector on this rail corridor in Lobito. Very important, and that.” could be a big point for the port’s development, “he analyzes.

Attractiveness for foreign investment

With the reconstruction of the railway line, the port of Lobito is now ready for a renaissance: Angola is privatizing it with a 20-year concession to attract new investments and stimulate the economy with the support of Bank Group Global.

“By involving foreigners, we can improve our infrastructure and our efficiency,” said Judge João Fernandes, coordinator of the Lobito Port Assessment Commission.

Foreign investments are already active in Angola’s largest port, Luanda. DP World, Dubai’s port management company, won the tender for this port earlier this year.

The revitalization of the port of the capital has already started in order to “improve the efficiency of the terminal”, emphasizes Francisco Pinzon, General Manager of DP World Luanda.

“We received thirty in-house trucks. In the coming days we will receive conditioners and replenishers as well as an additional mobile crane, ”he announces.

The port of Lobito has “a great infrastructure” and has the “potential to become the gateway to the southern part of the Congo and also to Zambia”, he analyzes.

Over a century ago, it was these business opportunities that motivated the builders of the Benguela Railway. The renewal of the corridor should bring it into the 21st century thanks to private investors.

“Rail is the cheapest means of transport, it transports large quantities and is less harmful to the environment,” emphasizes Jesus Nelson Pereira Martins, President of the Committee for the Evaluation of Public Tenders.

Diversification of the economy

“A special terminal for minerals” was set up “after the railway infrastructure was restored,” he added. The port of Lobito is already ready for loading to accept large quantities of minerals.

The diversification of the goods traded must also be taken into account when one considers that the railway line runs through areas with six million inhabitants.

“Today the railroad crosses 32%, 34% of Angola’s agricultural production,” emphasizes Pedro Neto. The corridor can thus develop industries and jobs and participate in an increase in consumption and passenger numbers on the railway lines.