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The Republic of the Congo has 2,187 km of navigable waterways, consisting mainly of the Congo and Ubangi rivers and their tributaries. These navigable waterways provide direct access throughout most of the northern and central part of the country, while the transport network in the south mainly relies on the road network and the railway from Pointe Noire to Brazzaville.

The major waterways (Congo, Ubangi and Sangha) are fully navigable during the rainy season. (June-Dec). The Congo River is the most powerful river of the world, next to the Amazon. 

The principal river routes are the two navigable sections of the Congo and Ubangi River of 1,120 km, allowing transport of goods and passengers from Brazzaville to Bangui in CAR during the rainy season. Major river ports on the Brazzaville- Bangui route include Lukolela, Liranga, Impfondo and Betou.

 Other rivers used for commercial traffic are the Sangha River, being navigable between Ouesso at the Cameroon border to Mossaka at the Congo river, the Alima River (367km) between the Congo River, south of Mossaka up to Liketi passing through the port of Oyo and the Likouala River (210 km) from Mossaka to Ntokou in the Cuvette region. The Congo River is navigable all year around up the river from the Stanley Pool at Brazzaville and Kinshasa.  From the Stanley Pool and down the river towards the Atlantic the Congo is not navigable because of a series of rapids and waterfalls. The Ubangi River is only fully navigable for six months per year for commercial traffic, with water levels too low during the dry season from January to June.

The river levels are deeply changing based on the seasonal cycles. As an example, measurement taken in January 2017 where indicating the river level in Brazzaville at 211cm, Ouesso in 197cm and Bangui in 91cm, while the measurements in July were indicating -3cm in Brazzaville, 181cm in Ouesso and 160cm in Bangui. 

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Republic of the Congo Government Contact List

Company Information

The river ports in Congo are administered and operated by the stately and autonomous company Port Autonome de Brazzaville et Ports Secondaires (PABPS). The responsable Ministry is “Le Ministere des Transports, de l’Aviation Civile, Charge de la Marine Marchande”. Traffic on Congo’s rivers is operated by private enterprises mainly using barges of 100 to 600 mt capacity. These barges are often connected of up to 4 units and tug buts are used to push them. 

For short-haul traffic, smaller wooden river boats, so called “baleinières”, are widely used. Their capacity is usually between 10-20 mt. The river port in Brazzaville is used both for passenger and cargo traffic, most notably between Kinshasa and Brazzaville. The Brazzaville port is also important for transport of cargo and passengers upstream the Congo River but also for the discharge of timber from the north of Congo.

The waterways and the Brazzaville port is an important logistics hub for the inland transport. The port has rail links for loading and discharging of railway wagons from Pointe Noire and a number of warehouses with loading ramps along the rails. WFP is hiring one of these warehouses with direct access to the railway links. The warehouse has a surface of 928 m2 and a capacity of around 2000 mt. Currently 1000 mt of food are stocked. The port is also equipped with cranes for the loading and the discharge of river barges, as of today here are two cranes fully operational in the port with capacity respectively of 160 mt and 70 mt and are managed by the private Company TBC.  For the use of port services there is an official tariff scale (Bareme de Tarification) which applies for all ports being administered by PABPS even though there is a difference in charges between Brazzaville and secondary ports.

Boats in Congo are used both for passengers and cargo traffic and there is no specific boat for passengers. The movement of cargo via river transport is of high significance in Congo and of equal importance of the transportation of passenger traffic.

For more information on waterway company contact details, please see the following link: 4.4 Republic of the Congo Port and Waterways Companies Contact List

 

Passenger Carrying Capacity

 

CAF

SOCOTRAF

GIE-SCEVN

Number of

Passenger Vessels

< 20 Passengers

--

--

--

Number of

Passenger Vessels

< 50 Passengers

--

--

1

Number of

Passenger Vessels

< 100 Passengers

--

6

--

Number of

Passenger Vessels

> 100 Passengers

5

16

10

Passenger Carrying Capacity

 

CAF

SOCOTRAF

GIE-SCEVN

Boats

Number of Boats

5

22

25

Tonnage / Volume

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3)

6400

1765

1800

Barges

Number of Barges

14

54

22

Tonnage / Volume

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3)

   

Tugs

Number of Tugs

5

22

20

Tonnage / Volume

Carrying Capacity (MT / m3)

523

  


Travel Time Matrix

Travel Time from Main port to other major Ports on Barges and Balenieres (Days)

 

Brazzaville

Loukolela

Liraga

Impfondo

Betou

Ouesso

Oyo

Brazzaville

 

4-5

5

9

11

9

6

Loukolela

4-5

 

1

5

7

5

7

Liranga 

5

1

 

4

6

4

8

Impfondo 

9

5

4

 

2

7

4

Betou

11

7

6

2

 

9

6

Ouesso

9

5

4

7

9

 

5

Oyo 

5

7

8

4

6

5

 

Key Routes

Key Route Information

Domestic/Iternational

 

From: Brazzaville

To: Impfondo

From:Brazzaville

To: Ouesso

From: Brazzaville

To: Bangui (CAR)

Total Distance (km)

800

950

1120

Width (m)

Broadest:2000
Narrowest: 800

Broadest: 2000
Narrowest: 500

Broadest: 2000
Narrowest: 800

River Flow

(m³ / second)

450

450

450

Seasonal Effects

Navigable Jun-Jan or commercial boats with loading capacity 1000-1500 mt. All year for boats of capacity 10-45 mt.

Navigable all year. Low water levels and longer travel times Jan-May.

Navigable June-Jan for commercial arges up to 1500 mt. All year for boats of 10-45 mt.

Maximum Weight and

Size of Vessels

   

Regular Traffic

Passenger / Cargo

4 boats/month

3 boats/month

3 boats/month

Companies Operating

Along the Route

CAF, SOCOTRAF, GIE-SCEVN

ETS LA PAIX, TOMAI, MAMAN MARTHE, OMBELA

CAF, SOCOTRAF, GIE-SCEVN

Security Concerns

NO

NO

NO

Main Ports

LUKOLELA, LIRANGA

LUKOLELA, LIRANGA

LUKOLELA, LIRANGA, IMPFONDO, BETOU 


Port Information

Key Port Information

 

Port Name

Port Name

Port Name

Location

BRAZZAVILLE

IMPFONDO

OUESSO

Contact Information

M. Yves KOUMBA

Tel. 242069753811

M. Prosper NGUBILI

Mme. Brigittec

Connections with Other

Transport Means

Waterways/air/road/Rail

Waterways/air/road

Waterways/air/road

Storage Capacity (m2 and m3)

5000 m2

200 m2

500 m2

Handling Equipment

2 cranes of 160MT and 70MT

No cranes or handling equipment availble

No. One crane Derrik of capacity 30MT obsolete.

Customs Clearance Available

Yes

Yes

Yes

Other Comments

   
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