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Cablegate: Port Authority Relaunches Congo River Traffic

VZCZCXRO5752
RR RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1313 2331106
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211106Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4633
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001313

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT ECON ETRD PGOV CG

SUBJECT: PORT AUTHORITY RELAUNCHES CONGO RIVER TRAFFIC

1. (U) The GDRC's port authority, ONATRA, has relaunched its own
transport operations on the Congo River after a ten-year hiatus. In
July, ONATRA began running two 3000-mile round-trips per month
between Kinshasa and Kisangani, Orientale province. The upriver
trip to Kisangani takes nine days, and the downriver trip takes six
days. The boat passes through Bandundu and Equateur provinces en
route.

2. (U) ONATRA schedules either a passenger or cargo boat, depending
upon demand. Its passenger boat capacity is 100 persons, and a
ticket for the entire trip costs about USD 32. The cargo boat can
pull five to six barges upriver, with a maximum weight of 4000 tons
per barge, at an official fee of USD 70.20 per ton. During the trip
to Kisangani, the boat deposits its barges, mainly carrying domestic
and imported manufactured goods, at various ports, including Bolobo,
Mbandaka and Lisala. On the downriver journey, the cargo boat
primarily transports food (such as manioc, maize and beans) and
forestry products.

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3. (U) The Administrator of the Congolese Chamber of Commerce (FEC)
told EconOff that economic operators are divided on whether this
development is positive. Some believe this project will not succeed
because ONATRA does not have the capacity or the equipment to
operate, load and unload a cargo boat. Others optimistically saw
ONATRA's lack of equipment as an opportunity to earn income by
renting ONATRA the vessels it will need. The Administrator also
noted that some of FEC's members already use their own
privately-operated boats.

MEECE

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