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Delayed Copper Ore Export Fuels Lobito’s Railways Ambitions in DRC Transport and Logistics

The planned export of 960 tons of raw copper ore from the Kolwezi region in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) faced a delay, with the scheduled start pushed from the 8th to the 18th of this month. Artur Silva, the Commercial Director of Lobito Atlantic Railway (LAR), provided this update.

While specific reasons for the shipment date change and the cargo’s final destination were not disclosed, Silva mentioned that the copper was undergoing bagging at the Multipurpose Terminal of the Port of Lobito before being containerized. 

The upcoming shipment is expected to be accommodated at the Mineiro Terminal, operated by LAR, diverting from the current operations at the multipurpose terminal.

The Multipurpose Container and General Cargo Terminal at the Port of Lobito, covering over 241,540.94 square meters with a berth of 1,199 linear meters, is equipped to handle substantial cargo annually. It can manage over 600 thousand tons of non-containerized cargo and 250 thousand TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) annually.

The strategic development of the Mining Terminal appears geared towards tapping into the abundant mineral resources of the DRC, with the Port of Lobito serving as a rapid route for supplying Asian superpowers.

Managed by the corridor consortium, this infrastructure has a direct railway link and can handle an average of three million tons annually, accommodating ships of up to 50 thousand tons due to its draft of 15.30 meters.

The recent delay in the copper ore shipment follows the inaugural train journey of 17 vehicles, including a GE locomotive and 16 LC type wagons, covering 1,289 kilometers from Luau station in Moxico to Lobito’s Commercial Port in 38 hours.

This experimental train marks the beginning of similar journeys expected from January 2024, with the aim of transporting ten thousand tons of ores from the Katanga region in the DRC through the Lobito Corridor. 

The evolving situation underscores the significance of Lobito’s railways in facilitating crucial trade connections in the mining sector of the region.

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