June 18, 2018: The four main forestry companies in Gabon’s Lastoursville have joined forces with SETRAG (the Trans-Gabon Railway operating company) and Bolloré Transport & Logistics to optimise transportation of their production to the port of Owendo.

Last April, Jean-François Ollivier, managing director of Bolloré Logistics in Gabon, signed a framework agreement for the creation of a “subcontracting organization for logistics solutions,” which involved Bolloré Transport & Logistics for the organizational, logistics and material handling part and in particular the provision of lifting equipment; SETRAG (the Trans-Gabon Railway operating company) for the rail transport part; and four forestry and timber companies - PW-CEB (Precious Woods and Compagnie Equatoriale des Bois), SBL (Société des Bois de Lastourville), SBK (Société des bois de Koulamoutou) and BH (Bonus Harvest).

The four main forestry companies in Lastoursville (LST) joined forces with SETRAG and Bolloré Transport & Logistics to optimize transportation of their production to the port of Owendo, a port city located 557 km from LST. The companies SBL, SBK, PW-CEB and BH wish to limit the number of intermediaries involved in transporting their raw material and to effectively overcome the difficulties they face while transporting their products until ship loading in the Port of Owendo.

Given the current situation in which the competitiveness of timber from Gabon is declining – partly due to the high cost of transporting it from production sites to ports – the condition of the infrastructures is becoming critical.

The project therefore involves creating a paved concrete logistics platform at the Lastoursville station to transport products in containers by rail directly from the production site to the ships.
The project also includes the future opening of a central administrative and customs office in Lastoursville, which will ensure faster wagon turnarounds while avoiding breaks in continuity in Owendo and thus save a considerable amount of time. The containers will go through customs clearance directly in Lastoursville before being loaded onto the wagons headed for Owendo, where they will be loaded onto ships.

The hub is scheduled to become operational in the fourth quarter of 2018, with a minimum export target of 365 TEUs transported each month between LST and Owendo. When the organization reaches its normal pace of activity and with the arrival of new operators, the volume is expected to increase in 2019.

The operating and transportation time, including packing timber into TCs, transportation to the port and goods loading formalities, is likely to decrease by 15 days, generating significant productivity gains of between 15 and 20 per cent.

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