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Luau Logistic Platform, the hub of the SADC markets

The recently inaugurated Luau Logistic Platform is a major development opportunity for the region and the country. In the final stretch of the Lobito Corridor, the infrastructure is a strategic point of interconnection with international markets, enhanced by the rail and road links with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia. With warehouses, container parks, and fuel and mineral terminals, the cargo captured by Luau Logistic Platform is expected to grow 22.5% in the next ten years, reaching more than 1 million tons of goods.

The logistic platforms are one of the key points for the success of the Lobito Corridor, an axis that crosses Angola and connects the Atlantic to the DRC and Zambia. In this context, the Logistic Platform (LP) of Luau, at the eastern end of the Corridor, is one of the most important steps towards projecting the country as one of the main logistic hubs in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

This privileged position of the Luau LP gives it a strong international vocation. The infrastructure is bordered by the Benguela Railway (CFB), which will soon join the Congolese and Zambian rail networks. Also in the immediate vicinity of the LP, just over 500 meters away, is the National Road 250, one of the stretches of the trans-African corridor Lobito – Beira (Mozambique). These axes not only connect Angola with neighboring countries, but cross the country from west to east, turning the Luau LP into a factor for the development of local, regional and national commerce.

At the center of this communications network, this LP will have an area of influence that includes the Angolan cities of Saurimo, in Lunda Sul province (240km away) and Luena, capital of Moxico (290km away). It will also reach the cities of Kolwezi (350km away) and Lubumbashi (580km away) in DRC, and the Zambian cities of Zambezi (326km away) and Solwezi (470km away).

The projections for the first year, based on the quantities of cargo estimated in the public tender for the Lobito Corridor concession (minerals, fuels, and other goods with origin/destination in the national and foreign markets) indicates that, in the first year, the LP of Luau should move 10 thousand tons of products in this area of influence, mainly construction and food materials . This volume is expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years, with an average annual growth rate of 22.5%, reaching 1,161 thousand tons of cargo handled in 2032.

In this encouraging scenario, the Luau LP considers two distinct cargo flows: cargo in “stock and processing” (storage, separation and distribution, and stuffing, in the case of manganese); and cargo in “consolidation and transit” (goods in transit in containers, tank wagons, with the possibility of evolution to the dry port model). This configuration will significantly facilitate the activities of transport, logistics, cargo distribution and support for import and export processes.

The structures of PL of Luau are distributed over an area of 7.9 hectares and will support areas as diverse as industry (grain milling, concrete prefabricated products), tourism and hospitality, livestock, forestry, and mineral resources. The complex includes atmosphere temperature warehouses with an initial capacity of 583 tons, which will be classified as Customs Bonded Warehouses. In the administrative area, services will also be provided for the Economic and Border Police, the Migration and Foreigners Service, and the General Tax Administration.

An atmosphere warehouse (dry) will have a minimum storage capacity of 216 pallets in stock, and will be able to move 1,296 pallets according to the configuration of the storage rack. The LP will also have a mixed Temperature Warehouse, with a capacity to store up to 216 pallets (97 tons), with the use of up to 4 temperatures according to the operator’s needs. The structure counts on temperature chambers division, differentiating between fish and meat and fruits and vegetables. It will be essential to support the agricultural sector, which is increasingly expressive in Moxico. In the first semester of 2021, the province reached the 3rd place of accumulated production of all agricultural products at a national level.

Minerals will be one of the areas of greatest interest, given the potential of the Lobito Corridor and its connection with mines in the DRC and Zambia. This sector will leverage the strong growth of the Luau LP. In a first phase, the Ore Terminal of this logistics platform will be able to house up to 30 ore wagons, according to forecasts.

The LP will also have a Fuel Terminal with an initial storage capacity of 1,250 m3.  The transportation of oil derivatives in the region is significant, registering an average monthly consumption of around 520 m3 of diesel. With the Lobito Refinery coming on stream, it is estimated that fuel exports to the DRC, through the Corridor, will also be significant. This structuring project of the Angolan government, together with the increase in demand in the Angolan and Congolese markets (27 thousand m3 annually), will sustain the average growth, which may require the expansion of the Fuel Terminal within three years, as estimated. The decision to increase it or not will be up to the concessionaire, and is not mandatory by contract.

Both the ore and the fuel terminals are connected to the Benguela Railway by their own branches. The LP also has a container yard with capacity to handle up to 720 tons (36 containers).

With the growth of the Lobito Corridor, the Luau LP will be an increasingly determinant point for the development of national and international trade. According to the Southern African Railways Association, within 20 years, the Lobito Corridor will be the third largest rail freight channel in the southern region of the continent, accounting for 3% to 5% of intermodal transport in the SADC. Much of this movement will pass through this platform.

The LP of Luau is part of a set of six strategic infrastructures included in the first implementation phase of the National Network of Logistical Platforms. By 2038, the Angolan government will create 21 similar logistics points throughout the country. The investment will be public-private and will be around 445.5 million US dollars.

Tags: transport of goods, African logistics, logistics centers, logistic platform