Author: Fan Xi, Pang Shuguang
Translator: Joseph Webster
Published on: 08/13/2014
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese): http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2014-08/13/c_1112064589.htm
According to Xinhua the new Benguela railroad will: “greatly reduce the cost of exporting copper and other natural resources in Southern Africa. Through integration with the railway networks in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique and other neighboring countries, Southern African regional rail interoperability will be achieved, thus forming a large international railway passage between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean that will promote regional economic development.” The article notes that technology transfer and local jobs will increase as a result of railway construction, but also stresses that the construction standards and operating materials were supplied by Chinese companies.
--- Joseph Webster (translator)
Reporters were informed by the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited that, after the Tanzania-Zambia Railway was built in the 1970s with Chinese aid, our country will construct the world’s longest transcontinental overseas railroad of the new century. The Benguela rail line will cross the whole territory of Angola, will be completed on August 13, and it will be officially open for operation within the year.
It is understood that the Benguela railway was built by the China Railway 20th Bureau Group using the EPC (Engineering - Procurement - Construction) mode of construction, and has a total length of 1344 km, encompassing areas west of the Atlantic port city of Lobito, east of Benguela, Huambo, Kuito, Luena and other major cities, and reaching as far as the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Luau. A total of 67 stations will be established, the cars have a design speed of 90 km, and the total investment will be about $ 1.83 billion.
As China Railway’s 20th Bureau Group Vice President of Angola Engineering Command chief Liu Feng told reporters, this Benguela rail project was built according to Chinese railroad construction standards. In the history of Angola, it is the longest rail line, the fastest, the largest such project, and it is also an important economic and transport corridor for Lobito, Angola.
According to reports, earlier in Angola's history, when it was a Portuguese colony, the original Benguela Railway was constructed by the Portuguese between 1926 and 1929, and its fastest speed was barely 30 kilometers per hour. At the start of the project, the question of whether European standards or Chinese standards would be used led to an intense debate.
In recent years, the rapid development of China's high-speed rail and construction companies, which are all committed to efficiency, value, and quality, allowed Chinese enterprises to eventually earn the project tenders. Liu Feng said that the Benguela railway used China's railway construction standards from design to construction. Moreover, steel rails, cement, other building materials, communications, and large-scale machine equipment, were all purchased from China. Operating materials for the railway, such as locomotives, vehicles, etc. are also supplied by Chinese companies.
Additionally, the project has also hired nearly100,000 local workers to participate in the railway’s construction. Through practical training and tutoring, 10,000 local workers have gradually learned welding, mechanical operations, communications, electrical services, and other technical specialties.
It is understood that the new Benguela railway will open to traffic after the end of the year. Not only will it connect to the Democratic Republic of Congo, it will connect the station with the planned construction of the Angola-Zambia railway, and connect with the Tanzania-Zambia Railway, becoming an important outlet to the sea for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and other landlocked countries. This will greatly reduce the cost of exporting copper and other natural resources in these countries. Through integration with the railway networks in Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, and other neighboring countries, Southern African regional rail interoperability will be achieved, thus forming a large international railway passage between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean that will promote regional economic development.
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