Libyan Railroads is considering extending its incomplete rail network south into neighbouring Chad and Niger to establish a rail transit route.
The news was revealed during a consultative meeting held yesterday at Libyan Railroads’ Tripoli headquarters between Said Al-Kilani, the head of Libyan Railways, and the ambassadors of Chad and Niger.
Al-Kilani briefed the ambassadors on the transit trade plan through a rail line linking Chad and Niger with the southern Libyan city of Sebha.
Linking sub-Sahara with Mediterranean coast
Commenting exclusively on the meeting to Libya Herald, Al-Kilani stressed the development of a plan to implement a project to link Libya to Chad and Niger by rail to transport passengers but also raw materials to and from Libya’s coastal ports. This will help reduce transportation costs for the two landlocked sub-Saharan countries and Libya and achieve great economic returns.
He reminded that Libya possesses elements of transit trade from large commercial ports and a railway project, parts of which have been implemented, but others have stopped due to the country’s recent instability.
Foreign companies willing to return to complete project
Al-Kilani confirmed that consultations with the companies implementing Libya’s railway project to resume their work in the coming months had started, this after completing the negotiation processes between all parties related to the project. These included the Chinese Railway Company, the Russian Railway Company, or the Italian Company. He said they had all expressed their willingness to cooperate for the return of the implementation of the components of the Libyan railway project.
For his part, the Director of Foreign Relations and Cooperation of Libyan Railroads, Mohamed Al-Tabouni, said in an exclusive interview with Libya Herald that the railways project is of great importance that serves the national economy as well as the economies of neighbouring countries, especially landlocked sub-Saharan countries that depend on air transport or light transport such as trucks and cars to transport their imports.
Government allocates LD 1 billion to railways
Al-Tabouni believes that linking Chad and Niger with the Libyan railway project, where currently work is under way to resume its implementation, is vital, especially after one billion dinars was allocated to the project, in a phased manner, by the Tripoli government. The allocation came after the government adopted the engineering and technical vision prepared by Libyan Railroads regarding the completion of the sections of the train project, which was neglected for a long time due to the instability the country went through.
Two-track coastal line
Al-Tabouni referred to the length and sections of the railways in Libya, with a length of 3,170 km and 76 stations. The design speed of the train reaches 250 km per hour in the sector that extends along the coast from Ras Jedir on the Tunisian border to Tobruk near the Egyptian border, with two lines. It is intended for the transport of passengers and goods.
Single track to Sebha
As for the section from Al-Hisha area (near Misrata) to Sebha, it is design speed is 160 km per hour, and is a single line dedicated to transporting goods, passengers, and raw materials available in the south, in order to operate the iron factory (LISCO) and cement factories in the north of the country.
Libyan Railroads’ current role is setting vision
And on how to link the countries of Chad and Niger with Libya via railways which are not even implemented yet inside Libya, Al-Tabouni said, “The current task of Libyan Railways is to set the general vision for this project by drawing plans and approving special studies from Sebha to Chad and Niger. This will facilitate the implementation of the project realistically during the coming years, but this comes after the completion of the train project, especially from Al-Hisha to Sebha.
Ready to implement Khoms-Misrata ports link
Al-Tabouni said Libyan Railroads, however, is ready to implement part of the project from the port of Khoms to the port of Misrata during the coming months, especially after the budget allocation approved by the Tripoli government.