Côte d’Ivoire/Burkina Faso – While the recently announced Côte d’Ivoire Burkina Faso railway link overhaul is likely to yield significant cargo cost savings, it may cause medium-term disruptions.
The 1 260 km railway line, which connects the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan to Burkina Faso capital Ouagadougou, is currently undergoing a five-year, USD445-million programme of improvements as announced by French infrastructure and media giant Bolloré.
The 30-year concession to run the line is held by Sitarail, owned two-thirds by Bolloré and one-third by the Ivorian and Burkinabé governments.
Sitarail president Michel Roussin said the aim of the improvements is to drastically cut the journey time for both passengers and cargo (currently which takes between 36 and 48 hours), and to increase the freight capacity to 5 Mtpa. Up to 60% of that figure will be exports of manganese from Pan African Minerals’ mine at Tambao in Burkina Faso.
The line, which is already the principal route for trade between Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, currently transports 910 000 t of merchandise and around 300 000 passengers.
This figure has nearly doubled in just three years to 2014 and is often headed for the port at Abidjan, where Bolloré also won a contract to operate the second container terminal in 2013.