Country Listing

Chad Table of Contents


Land Transport


Figure 8. Transportation System, 1988

In 1988 the road system in Chad remained deteriorated or underdeveloped. At one time, two paved roads linked the capital to the interior: one to Massaguet, 80 kilometers to the northeast, and the other to Gélendeng, 160 kilometers to the south. Both roads, however, had virtually disappeared by 1987 because of lack of maintenance. Of the 253 kilometers of paved roads reported in 1978, none were still paved in 1987. Chad had about 7,300 kilometers of dirt roads and tracks that were partly maintained; only 1,260 kilometers were all-weather roads. About 24,000 kilometers of rural marked tracks received no maintenance at all. Most of this road and track network was passable only during the dry season.

Considerable foreign donor attention was focused on land transportation problems. In addition to the externally financed bridges constructed to allow passage to Cameroon, the National Office of Roads (Office National des Routes--OFNAR) under the Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development used technical assistance and training financed by the United States Agency for International Development (AID) and the United Nations International Development Agency (IDA). In 1987 three OFNAR subdivisions operated in N'Djamena, Sarh, and Moundou. Plans existed to open subdivisions in Abéché and Mongo as road rehabilitation advanced into these areas. The National Quarry Office (Office National des Carriers--OFNC) was created in 1986 under the Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development to manage quarry operations at Dandi (north of N'Djamena near Lake Chad), using a large crusher financed by AID. The crushed stone was to be used for road improvements.

Government plans for the rehabilitation of the national road network called for the reconstruction of 3,800 kilometers of priority roads from 1987 to 1992. In 1987 about 2,000 kilometers were receiving spot repairs. The network of priority roads would reestablish the all-weather links between the capital and Sarh via Gélendeng and Niellim. It would also connect Sarh to Léré via Moundou in the south and N'Djamena to Am Timan via Bokoro and Mongo. The reconstruction and maintenance of the system would depend on the success of IDA- and AID-funded efforts to restore the capabilities of the OFNAR and to start the operation of the Dandi quarry.

Domestic freight traffic amounted to approximately 265,000 tons per year in the early 1980s. More than 100,000 tons of this traffic was in the southern regions, which included the transport of the cotton crop from collection points to ginning mills and then to points of export. The transport of food in normal nondrought years averaged around 50,000 tons annually. The internal transport of petroleum products represented some 25,000 tons annually of the total domestic freight, with the distribution of beer, sugar, and miscellaneous consumer goods making up the balance.

Transport during the rainy season was difficult, particularly between the capital and sahelian and soudanian zones. To avoid the swollen rivers and runoffs, Chadian traffic often was forced to pass by way of Cameroon, taking all-weather and paved roads via Maroua from Léré or Bongor and then on to Kousséri and N'Djamena. Travel in the rainy season via Maroua to Mayo-Kebbi Prefecture was a day or day-and-one-half journey; the internal route south from N'Djamena toward Mayo-Kebbi Prefecture could take two weeks or longer.

The main transport carriers in Chad in 1987 were the Cooperative of Chadian Transporters (Coopérative des Transporteurs Tchadiens--CTT), Cotontchad, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Emergency Food Programme transport fleet. The CTT was an association of private truck owners having a governmentgranted monopoly on all internal and external transport, except for the operations of Cotontchad and other parastatals with private trucking fleets. In 1985 the CTT had 382 members, who owned 580 trucks with a total capacity of 16,700 tons, as well as 108 tanker trucks for fuel transport with a capacity of 3,427 cubic meters. The CTT transported some 150,000 tons of dry cargo and an estimated 8,700 cubic meters of petroleum products in the same year. Not all transporters participated in the cooperative. Trucks with capacities of five tons or less carried unrecorded but significant amounts of goods over short distances.

Cotontchad, which was not a member of the CTT, was the single largest carrier in Chad. In 1985 it operated about 260 heavy trucks and another 100 light- to medium-weight vehicles that transported the cotton crop from collection points to ginning operations and on to export terminals. In 1986, as a part of the emergency restructuring program to reduce transport costs, the company sold about eighty of its large tractor trailer trucks to the CTT, which was expected to take responsibility for the long-distance importexport movement of the cotton crop.

The UNDP fleet in 1985 consisted of 240 trucks to transport emergency food during the drought. In 1987 the number of UNDP trucks fell to about 150, and these trucks were underused. In the late 1980s, the fleet brought supplies and food to remaining pockets of malnutrition, especially to those areas hit by locust infestations. The government was anxious to maintain this fleet for use during any renewed drought, despite the overcapacity and possible competition the fleet's operations might pose for the CTT.

By 1987 overall trucking capacity exceeded demand for domestic and import-export transport. Much of the fleet was also mismatched for domestic needs, being either oversized or suited more for the paved and all-weather roads leading into the country. Moreover, many trucks were in poor condition. To compound the problem, there were insufficient maintenance and support facilities available to keep vehicles in good repair. Studies were underway in 1987 to improve this situation, with particular attention on breaking up the CTT's monopoly.

Data as of December 1988

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