Transport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Surface transport within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has always been difficult. The terrain and climate of the Congo Basin present serious barriers to road and rail construction, and the distances are enormous across this vast country. Furthermore, chronic economic mismanagement and internal conflict has lead to serious under-investment over many years.

As an illustration of transport difficulties in the DRC, the so-called "national" route, used to get supplies to Bukavu, consisted of the following:

In other words, goods had to be loaded and unloaded eight times and the total journey would take many months.

Some parts of the DRC are more accessible from neighbouring countries than from Kinshasa. For example Goma is linked by road to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, and Lubumbashi and the rest of Katanga Province is linked to Zambia. These links are generally more important for the east and south of the country, and more heavily used, than surface links to the capital. In practice, air transport is the only effective means of moving between many places within the country.

Many of the routes listed below are in poor condition and may be operating at only a fraction of their original capacity (if at all), despite recent attempts to make improvements. The United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) has set up an operation in Congo to support humanitarian relief agencies working there. It publishes bulletins and updates about the transport situation on the UNJLC web site.[1]


[edit] Railways

Image:First train in Kindu, DRC.jpg
Train from Lubumbashi arriving in Kindu on newly refurbished line

The national system is mostly operated by the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer du Congo (SNCC). Not all rail lines link up, but are generally connected by river transport. There are separate systems based on

This railway lost traffic to road transport when the Matadi-Kinshasa road was reestablished in 2000 and it is now planned to revitalise it with Chinese help.<ref>Le Potentiel, 16th August 2006</ref> An agreement was signed in July 2006 between ONATRA and a Chinese company (CMIC) which will renovate the track, trains, telecommunications, signal system and electric supply. This line is a bypass of the Livingstone Falls at the Congo River.

total: 4,772 km (2002), 5,138 km (1995);
narrow gauge:

  • 3,621 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); (2002)
  • 125 km 1.000-m gauge; (2002) ev. transformed to 3½ ft gauge in 1955<ref></ref>
  • 1,026 km 0.600-m gauge (2002);
  • 3,987 km 1.067-m gauge (858 km electrified); (1996)

[edit] Railway links to adjacent countries

[edit] Maps

[edit] Cities served by railways

[edit] Inland lines

[edit] Kisangani portage

[edit] Bumba line

[edit] Highways

According to UNJLC[2], the total network, in 2005 is believed to be as follows:-
total: 171,250 km
paved: 2,250 km
unpaved: 15,000 km
tracks 43,000 km
country roads 21,000 km
local roads or footpaths 90,000 km

However, a DRC government document shows that, also in 2005, the network of main highways in good condition was as follows:
paved: 1,226 km
unpaved: 607 km

UNJLC reports that, although the road network is theoretically divided into four categories (national roads, priority regional roads, secondary regional roads and local roads), this classification is of little practical use because some roads simply do not exist. For example, National Road 9 is not operational and cannot be detected by remote sensing methods.

The following roads are part of what has been called the Kinshasa Highway, from the Republic of the Congo to Kenya through Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda or Burundi, and the DRC.

UNJLC also points out that the network is dependent upon 20,000 bridges and 325 ferries, most of which are in need of repair or replacement.

[edit] Waterways

15,000 km including the Congo River, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes

[edit] Pipelines

petroleum products 390 km

[edit] Ports and harbors

[edit] Atlantic Ocean

[edit] Inland Rivers

[edit] Lake Tanganyika

[edit] Lake Kivu

[edit] Merchant marine

none (1999 est.)

[edit] Airports:

229 (2002), 232 (1999 est.)

[edit] Airports - with paved runways

total: 24
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 16
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2002 est.)

[edit] Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 205
1,524 to 2,437 m: 19
914 to 1,523 m: 95
under 914 m: 91 (2002 est.)

[edit] See also


This article contains material from the CIA World Factbook which, as a US government publication, is in the public domain.

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