Africa > Central Africa > Gabon > Gabon Transportation Profile

Gabon: Gabon Transportation Profile



Gabon has very few roads and most are not hard-surfaced. The Trans-Gabon railway links Owendo and Franceville. There is an international airport at Libreville.

Major roads connect virtually all major communities, but maintenance work is difficult because of heavy rainfall. In 2002, the road network comprised 8,454 km, of which 838 km were paved, inclunding 30 km of expressways. A north-south road runs the length of the country, from Bitam to Ndendé. This major north-south link continues into Cameroon in the north and the Congo in the south. An east–west road connects Libreville and Mékambo. Farther south, an extra road runs from Mayumba to Lastoursville and Franceville. In 1995 there were about 23,000 automobiles and 10,000 commercial vehicles in use.

total: 7,670 km
paved: 629 km (inclunding 30 km of expressways)
unpaved: 7,041 km (1996 est.)

Roads in Gabon link most areas of the country, and a lot of of the major roads are of a reasonable standard. However, remoter areas along the coast and in the east are often not connected to the road network. Major roads are denoted national routes and numbered, with a prefix "N" (sometimes "RN"):

N1 road: Libreville – Kougouleu – Bifoun – Lambaréné – Mouila – Ndendé – Tchibanga - (Republic of Congo)
N2 road: Bifoun – Alembe – Viate – Mitzic – Bibasse – Oyem – Bitam – Éboro – (Cameroon)
N3 road: Alembe – Kazamabika – Lastoursville – Moanda – Franceville
N4 road: Viate – Ekonlong – Makokou – Mékambo
N5 road: Kougouleu – Bibasse
N6 road: Mayumba – Tchibanga – Ndendé – Lebamba - Koulamoutou – Lastoursville
N7 road: Makokou – Bakwaka – Okondja – Lékori - Akiéni – Ngouoni – Franceville


The National Infrastructure Master Plan comprises 21 major projects, for a total investment over 6 years currently estimated at XAF5,913 billion (US$11.831 billion). This is a world development strategy aimed at providing Gabon with the requisite infrastructure across the country for the socio-economic development of the interior and a real diversification of the national economy. The coherence and the successful implementation of all of these projects will be assured by the supervision and the technical and financial control of the National Agency for Major Works.

The National Infrastructure Master Plan includes the following projects:

  • Better Libreville Management and Planning scheme
  • Power – Infrastructure (estimated cost: XAF 1,504 billion/US$3.008 billion)
  • Transport – Infrastructure: roads, railways, ports (estimated cost: XAF1763 billion/US$3.530 billion)
  • Development of the mining sector (estimated cost: XAF1630 billion/US$3.260 billion)
  • Development of the tourism sector (estimated cost: XAF43 billion/US$85 million)
  • Mandji island Appropriate Economic Zone
  • Establishment of the National Agency for Major Works (XAF170 billion/US$340 million)

Railways in Gabon

Until the 1970s, Gabon had no railroads. A 936 km railroad construction program, the Trans-Gabon Railway, began in October 1974. In its initial stage, completed in 1983, the project linked the port of Owendo with the interior city of Booué (332 km). The second stage, completed in December 1986, linked Booué with Franceville (357 km) via Moanda, thus facilitating exports of manganese from the southeast and forestry exploitation in the same region. A proposed third stage would continue the line from Booué to Belinga in the northeast, where there are iron ore deposits.

In 2003 the railway began the process of installing a satellite based telecommunications system.As of 2004, Gabon National Railways totalled 814 km of standard-gauge track.

total: 814 km (Gabon National Railways or OCTRA)
standard gauge: 814 km 1.435-m gauge; single track (1994)

Cities served by rail


Libreville - capital
Owendo - port
Sahoué - port
Franceville - railhead
Booué - likely junction for branchline to Makokou
Ntoum - proposed junction for iron ore traffic to Santa Clara
Mounana - ?

Water transport

Seaports and harbours

The busiest ports are Port-Gentil, the center for exports of petroleum products and imports of mining equipment, and Owendo, a new port that opened in 1974 on the Ogooué estuary, 10 km north of Libreville. Owendo’s capacity, initially 300,000 tons, reached 1.5 million tons in 1979, at the same time as the port was enlarged to include timber-handling facilities. The smaller port at Mayumba as well handles timber, and a deepwater port is planned for the city.

Merchant marine

In 1998, Gabon’s merchant marine owned two vessels totalling 13,613 GRT. As of 2002, there was one merchant marine. As of 2003, Gabon had 1,600 km of perennially navigable waterways, inclunding 310 km on the Ogooué River. total: 1 ship (with a volume of 1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over) totaling 2,419 GRT/3,205 tonnes deadweight (DWT)
ships by type: cargo ship 1 (1999 est.)


Gabon has 1,600 km of perennially navigable waterways

Air transport

Gabon had an estimated 56 airports in 2004, but only 11 of which had paved runways as of 2005. There are three international airports: Libreville, Port-Gentil, and Franceville. Numerous airlines provide international flights. Nouvelle Air Affaires Gabon handles scheduled domestic service. In 2003, about 386,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.

Airports - with paved runways

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 8
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 45
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 25 (1999 est.)


crude oil 270 km; petroleum products 14 km

Airports - with paved runways Total: 
Airports - with unpaved runways Total: 
Transportation - note: