The board of Angola’s Moçâmedes Railroad has reached an agreement with ornamental stone traders to lower the price per ton from 7.5 kwanzas per kilometre to 6.5 kwanzas, thus making it easier to transport granite to the port of Moçâmedes, capital of the province of Namibe, said on Wednesday in Lubango the financial director of the railway company.
The agreement comes three years after the start of negotiations, as a result of the pressure exerted by the provincial governments of Namibe and Huíla over the last eight years to ban the transportation of granite, marble and fuels by road, which is believed to have contributed to the rapidly deteriorating state of National Road No. 280.
The CFM financial director António Conceição told Angolan state news agency Angop that reducing the price per kilometre along the 253 kilometres of the Lubango-Namibe line lowers the cost of transporting each 2.5-ton granite block to 41,000 kwanzas, which compares with the current cost of 90,000 kwanzas when the same block is transported by road.
Conceição said that the company had decided to increase the frequency of the freight train from two to five trips per week in order to meet expected demand.
The production of ornamental stone in the province of Huíla in 2017 was 36,168 cubic metres, or 103,298 tons.
Of this total, 34,334 cubic metres were exported through the port of Namibe to Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, China and India, generating revenues of US$5.72 million compared to US$7.92 million in 2016.
The reconstruction and modernisation of CFM began in 2006 and was completed in 2014, costing US$1.2 billion, which included the complete replacement of the line, rails, sleepers and ballast, as well as the construction of 56 first, second and third class stations.