DR CONGO: SNCC Director General Ilunga Ilunkamba looked forward to 2016 as the year that would see the ‘renaissance’ of the state railway, in his message to staff delivered on December 31. Under the Multimodal Transport Project funded by the World Bank, 38 new locomotives were being acquired and track renewals were underway on various sections of the 1067 mm gauge network.

However, the current state of SNCC infrastructure was ‘worrying’, he said, responsible for 24 derailments in the month of December alone. Production was ‘stagnant’, while the financial health of the company was ‘still precarious’.

Ilunkamba urged staff to draw on all their know-how to beat the targets set by the 2016 budget, including the production of 268 million traffic units and turnover of US$51∙98m. Given the currently limited size of the operational locomotive fleet, this was ‘a realistic but minimalist budget’, he said, noting that 50% of SNCC income went to pay the wages bill.