Trafigura group helps to restablish historic African trade route

First shipment of copper successfully arrives in the Angolan port of Lobito by train from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Luanda - 24th September 2018

Trafigura Group Pte Ltd (“Trafigura”), one of the world’s leading independent commodity trading companies has successfully taken the first step towards reopening one of Africa’s most historic trade routes, with an epic train journey that ended in the Angolan port of Lobito on Saturday 22nd September this year.

A cargo of 800 tonnes of copper blister, purchased by Trafigura from the Copperbelt mining region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), made the nearly 1,800 kilometre journey by train from Kolwezi to Lobito.

“Although the volume carried is small in relation to total copper exports from the DRC, this was an operation of significant importance for both the Trafigura Group and the region,” said Julien Rolland, a member of Trafigura’s management committee.

“This train carried the first consignments of copper to travel along the Lobito corridor from the DRC to Angola’s Atlantic coast in more than 40 years. It has the potential to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a railway line that dates back more than a century and once took millions of tonnes of cargo from the mines of Congo to the ocean port of Lobito,” said Julien. We intend to play a leading role in re-establishing this route, which still needs investment in the DRC railway. A properly functioning Lobito corridor would take days off the journey time to a world class port that offers the fastest access to American and European markets.”

Currently copper is exported from the DRC east via Dar es Salaam in Tanzania or Beira in Mozambique, and more recently south via Durban in South Africa, a journey that takes two weeks or more. As export volumes have increased from the DRC, the roads have become more congested and delays at the border more protracted. This new export corridor exploits existing national rail infrastructure, removes trucks from the roads and offers an alternative route to markets.

Impala Terminals has significant warehouse facilities in the DRC copper belt enabling material collection, loading and dispatch of trains. “This is a classic case where Trafigura trading and Impala Terminal’s assets can come together to offer superior service for our customers on a strategically important and commodities route that we have now proved is viable,” said Craig Mynhardt, Impala’s General Manager Africa. “The investments made along the Angolan leg of the line by DT Group, an Angolan focused Trafigura affiliate company, will also help to build traffic and improve returns.”


Image by Trafigura Beheer B.V.

About Trafigura
Founded in 1993, Trafigura is one of the largest physical commodities trading groups in the world. Trafigura sources, stores, transports and delivers a range of raw materials (including oil and refined products and metals and minerals) to clients around the world. The trading business is supported by industrial and financial assets, including 49.6 percent owned global oil products storage and distribution company Puma Energy; global terminals, warehousing and logistics operator Impala Terminals; Trafigura's Mining Group; and Galena Asset Management. The Company is owned by around 600 of its 3,935 employees who work in 62 offices in 35 countries around the world. Trafigura has achieved substantial growth over recent years, growing revenue from USD12 billion in 2003 to USD136.4 billion in 2017. The Group has been connecting its customers to the global economy for more than two decades, growing prosperity by advancing trade. For more information, please visit: www.trafigura.com

Trafigura Beheer B.V. press release