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DR Congo looks to resuscitate flagship carrier

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) plans to resuscitate an old shipping name next month with the aim of opening up markets on the Indian Ocean.

Lignes Maritimes Congolaises (LMC) is being relaunched on the international stage as a state-owned entity and has plans to buy bulk and boxships.

The DRC was formally admitted into the East African Community, a trade bloc, last month and has outlined plans to ship goods via ports in Kenya and Tanzania, opening up new routes for the giant nation.

The DRC is Africa’s second-largest country by area albeit with a tiny coastline of 37 km on the Atlantic where a deepsea port is now under construction. DP World is pressing ahead with the development of Banana port, which will have an initial 600 m quay with an 18 m draft. It will have a container handling capacity of about 450,000 teu per year, and a 30 ha yard to store containers.

LMC has not owned its own ships this century something the nation’s president, Félix Tshisekedi, has vowed to change. Historically LMC has close ties with Belgium’s Marinvests from whom it has chartered in ships over the years. The shipping line’s history dates back many decades, previously known as Compagnie Maritime Zaïroise and Compagnie Maritime du Congo before taking on the LMC branding in 2009.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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