AFRICA: Feasibility study, block train service on the north-south corridor

PPIAF, in collaboration with the World Bank's Transport Global Practice, recently finalized a series of studies aimed at informing the railway corporations in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) through the Nepad Business Foundation (NBF), in assessing and testing various PPP options for a functioning block train service between the ports of Durban/Richards Bay in South Africa to Ndola in Zambia (eventually Kolwezi in DRC). This includes a robust analysis of all possible alternatives (alternatives in alignments, in selection of standards, etc.) and a comparison with international experience and good practice among a variety of countries. The overarching approach followed for this study can simply be presented as entailing three broad steps:
1. Gaining an understanding of the market opportunity for the block train service. This is based on an assessment of the freight traffic demand both now and into the future.
2. Unpacking the investments and changes required to enable the attraction of this traffic to the block train service. This would include issues around the governance and legal regime required to enable it, the operational changes required at the interface of the RAs, and the investment in physical infrastructure in the perway, border crossings, and terminals.
3. Evaluating the viability and impact of the proposed block train service. This includes the financial feasibility of the service and the Ndola terminus, the economic and ESG impacts of the proposed service, as well as how the market reacts to this service. The analyses conducted as part of this activity have helped identify approaches that would set in motion the development of the governance arrangement that would enable a private third-party operator on the corridor.

Approved date2019-12-10
RegionSub-Saharan Africa

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Final Study Report: Consulting Services to undertake a Feasibility Study,