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Cablegate: Drc Port Authority Looking Into Railway Rehabilitation

VZCZCXRO9832
RR RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1379 2430549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310549Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4710
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS KINSHASA 001379

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: ECON ELTN EINV PGOV CG
SUBJECT: DRC PORT AUTHORITY LOOKING INTO RAILWAY REHABILITATION

1. (U) The DRC is continuing to discuss plans to rehabilitate its
Matadi-Kinshasa rail line, which currently operates at only about
ten percent of capacity. A Chinese company, China Machine Building
International Corporation (CMIC) signed a memorandum of
understanding April 6 to provide ONATRA (the DRC's port authority)
with equipment and repairs for the historic 230-mile Matadi to
Kinshasa railway. CMIC representatives visited the DRC twice
between January and April to conduct a rail survey and meet with
ONATRA officials, and the parties are now exchanging technical data.
According to an ONATRA contact, the parties have not yet signed a
final contract nor fixed the amount or means of payment. Further,
ONATRA has not launched a public tender for this project.

2. (U) In addition to restoring the actual rail line, with a
transport capacity goal of 5 million tons per year, CMIC proposes to
provide communications equipment, signs, electrical power and
railroad maintenance, and to buy new equipment and railroad support
units. CMIC proposes to replace the 33-40 inch rails with 50-inch
rails, and to replace the wooden sleepers with ones made from
concrete. The ambitious project plans to construct a telephone
switching station, a power generating unit and a transmission center
for train monitoring, as well as to supply 16 locomotives, 36
passenger carriages and 215 cargo wagons.

3. (U) The renovation proposal includes reducing the number of
railway stations from 50 to 20, keeping stations at Matadi, Lukala,
Kwilu, Kiasi-Kolo, Kisantu, Lufu, Luila, Kasangulu, Menkao,
Tadi-Mosi, Lemba, Matete, Limete, Funa, N'dolo, Kimpese, Kolo,
Tombagadio, Sona-Bata and Minkelo. The stations will be located 12
miles apart. (Note: The passenger rail-trips currently takes about
seven and a half hours, versus a six-hour trip by car. End note.)

4. (U) Comment. Regardless of who undertakes the project, which
preferably should be launched via a public tender, the
rehabilitation will take a substantial amount of time and cost many
millions of dollars. It is unclear how ONATRA can come up with the
necessary funds. End comment.

MEECE

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