TEY_post_Jean-Yves-LUNOT A new era for the Lobito terminal

With the right management and investment, Lobito can reclaim its status as a vital regional port, contributing to Angola’s development.

Jean Yves LUNOT Managing Director AGL ANGOLA

A new era for the Lobito terminal

April 22, 2024

Jean Yves Lunot, managing director of AGL Angola, talks to The Energy Year about the company’s footprint in the country’s logistics network and the key investments it is making in Lobito’s multipurpose terminal. AGL Angola provides logistics and freight forwarding services in Luanda, Lobito, Soyo and Cabinda.

What is the footprint of AGL Angola in the country’s logistics network?
With 80,000-square-metre bases in both Luanda and Lobito, along with logistics support across diverse sectors – including oil and gas and other industrial sectors – we are deeply embedded in Angola’s logistics landscape. Our operations extend to warehouses and agencies in Cabinda and Soyo, reflecting our broad spectrum of logistics activities nationwide.
Formerly known as Bolloré Africa Logistics, we recently underwent a significant transformation upon being acquired by MSC Holding. MSC Holding is based in Geneva and now fully owns AGL. Our rebranding to AGL was officially announced in March 2023, marking a new chapter with fresh investment plans and new perspectives.

What are the key investments you plan on making in Lobito’s multipurpose terminal?
The AGL Lobito Terminal was officially launched on March 27, 2024. As the new operators of the Lobito multipurpose terminal, we have an investment plan totalling approximately USD 108 million. This plan corresponds to a 20-year concession period. Currently, we are in a transition phase, with numerous missions ongoing, particularly in Lobito. We are in the process of establishing a dedicated management team for this endeavour, which is a standard practice for us given our extensive experience in running terminals across various countries.
The Lobito project holds strategic importance for us as we expand our footprint. Although the current volumes in Lobito are relatively low compared to historical levels, the port infrastructure generally remains in excellent condition, albeit with some needed equipment repairs.
This repair work forms a crucial component of our investment plan. A substantial portion of the allocated funds are earmarked for equipment renewal within the first three years. With a draft of 14 metres, Lobito boasts superior natural conditions for accommodating larger vessels compared to ports such as Luanda’s. Moreover, its connection to the railway corridor further enhances its appeal.
Our primary objective is to enhance productivity at the Lobito terminal, thereby attracting shipping liners back to the port. By restoring productivity levels, we aim to regain market share and stimulate economic activity. Our business plan is aligned with this goal and is designed to attract interest not only from the mining sector but also from regular import-export companies. Lobito’s potential extends beyond imports, with significant opportunities for exports, particularly in sectors such as mining.
While our investment in Lobito represents a substantial commitment, it’s important to note that the port’s historical significance underscores its enduring potential. With the right management and investment, Lobito can reclaim its status as a vital regional port, contributing to Angola’s economic growth and development.


How will you integrate local talent, support internal growth and implement sustainability practices?
Regarding our workforce, we anticipate transitioning 700 workers over to our entity in Lobito, which will be named AGL Lobito Terminal. This transition is stipulated in our agreement with the state, wherein we commit to integrating all existing workers into our structure.
While we will initially have management positions filled by expatriates to kickstart operations, our long-term goal is to empower local talent through training initiatives. Leveraging our global presence, we plan to organise training programmes both locally and abroad to enhance the skills and capabilities of our workforce.
In line with our global practices, we aim to progressively transition expatriate positions to local talent, promoting internal growth and leadership development. This commitment to local empowerment extends beyond contractual obligations and aligns with our broader organisational philosophy.
Additionally, we are aware of our environmental responsibilities and are committed to developing sustainable practices at the port.

What role do you think renewables and mining are going to play in the future for logistics players in Angola?
We’re engaged in infrastructure initiatives, having been approached by a Chinese firm for the Lobito refinery project.
The landscape is evolving, with renewable energy and mining projects on the horizon. While AGL may not be active in these sectors in Angola at present, we maintain operations in other countries, particularly in the mining sector.
Our presence on the Lobito corridor is strategic, as the corridor connects us to our facilities in Lubumbashi, Katanga, where we provide essential services to major players in the mining industry. With MSC, we’re entering a period of expansion and investment.
The Lobito project, which is integral to our growth strategy, aligns with our goal of strengthening logistics networks across Africa. Through MSC’s global reach, we aim to enhance connectivity to key markets such as the US and Europe, facilitating the export of mining products and reinforcing our position as a major player in the region.

What is AGL Angola’s projected growth for 2024?
We are anticipating significant growth in 2024. I’m specifically referring to our logistics and shipping activities, excluding the Lobito terminal, which is a separate project. The upward trajectory for the country’s economic development and hence logistics activities is evident.
Our business portfolio expanded by approximately 15-20% over 2023, and I anticipate this growth trend will persist. While we have presented a reasonable budget, we’re optimistic about exceeding it, particularly given the dynamics of the oil and gas market.
However, we must exercise caution due to the country’s economic situation, which impacts other sectors. For instance, our work with some industrial companies in Angola has shown how companies are grappling with the challenges posed by the inflation and currency fluctuations of the kwanza. This uncertainty is likely to persist in the coming months, potentially leading to challenging circumstances. The government’s introduction of a 10% additional tax, which affects logistics, adds another layer of complexity.

What are AGL Angola’s key strategic priorities for 2024?
Currently, our primary focus is on our Lobito project, which demands a significant portion of our time. AGL Angola is expanding, with key projects underway and substantial investments approved by top management at MSC. These cover development initiatives and logistics infrastructure improvements, such as acquiring trucks and equipment and developing a larger footprint in the Benguela province. These investments open new business avenues and strengthen our market position.
In addition to project execution and infrastructure development, we’re focused on enhancing AGL Angola’s market visibility and strengthening client and stakeholder relationships in Angola for long-term growth and sustainability.
AGL holds the potential to lead Angola’s logistics market. Through our strong partnerships with key companies in the country, coupled with our recent investments, we’re poised to regain market leadership. With determination and strategic initiatives, we’re ready to assert our dominance in the logistics sector by leveraging our brand presence across the continent.

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