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Historic Arrival of First Copper Ore Cargo Train at Lobito Port

On Sunday morning, December 31st, Lobito witnessed a monumental moment as a groundbreaking cargo train arrived, carrying 960 tons of unprocessed copper ore from the Kolwezi region in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Departing from the Luau station in Moxico province on a Friday evening at 4:30 PM, the seventeen-vehicle train, including a GE C30ACi locomotive and 16 LC-type wagons, covered an impressive 1,289 kilometers in 38 hours to reach the Lobito Commercial Port.

This historic event marks the first shipment of ore since the implementation of the transfer agreement for railway services and logistics support for the Lobito Corridor. The agreement was formally sealed between the Angolan Government and the Lobito Atlantic Railway consortium on July 4th, 2023.

Artur Silva, the Commercial Director of Lobito Atlantic Railways (LAR), described this shipment as an experimental venture, heralding a series of anticipated shipments scheduled to commence in January 2024. These shipments aim to transport ten thousand tons of minerals from the Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of Congo through the Lobito Corridor to international markets, primarily Europe and Asia.

While details about the duration of the cargo’s stay at Lobito Port and its specific destination remain unspecified, Silva assured stakeholders of the site’s secure handling and rigorous packaging procedures before export.

Fausto Carvalho, the Commercial Director of the Benguela Railway Company (CFB), underscored the significance of this shipment in diversifying Angola’s economy. Carvalho emphasized the collaborative effort involving national entities, the State, and multinational corporations within the LAR consortium, expressing optimism for Angola’s economic trajectory.

This milestone event follows historical significance, as the Lobito Corridor facilitated its first shipment of raw copper ore on March 5th, 2018, from the Tenke mines in the DRC. The reopening of this commercial route, suspended for over four decades between Lobito (Angola) and Kolwezi (DRC), is hailed as a catalyst for a new era in the region’s economic landscape.

Traditionally, Congolese copper exports have been routed through ports in Beira, Mozambique; Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania; or Durban, South Africa. The resumption of operations at the Lobito Corridor signifies a pivotal shift in the dynamics of the regional trade network.

Source: Copperbelt Katanga Mining

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