Egypt turns to Russia to avoid wasting decaying railway authority


Oct 17, 2020

Egypt has lately signed a sequence of offers with Russia with the purpose to develop its railway community. 

On Oct. 11, the Port of Alexandria acquired 35 Russian practice carriages as a part of a deal to fabricate and provide 1,300 passenger carriages, signed between the 2 international locations in October 2018. Under the deal, Egypt receives a month-to-month cargo of Russian practice carriages.

On Oct. 8, director of the Egyptian Railway Authority (ERA) Ashraf Raslan introduced the addition of a variety of new Russian practice carriages equipped to Egypt in addition to the beginning of a research on railway visitors and the provision of providers to college students.

On Sept. 26, Egyptian Minister of Transport Maj. Gen. Kamel al-Wazir introduced the arrival of 22 passenger carriages from Russia, saying, “The total of 103 vehicles that have arrived so far is part of a deal to manufacture and supply 1,300 new passenger carriages.”

In June 2020, ERA put the primary three new Russian trains into service.

The Egyptian-Russian deal to provide practice carriages dates again to October 2018, when ERA in Cairo signed an settlement with the Russian-Hungarian industrial group Transmashholding that included the supply of 1,300 carriages to Egypt, along with the institution of the primary manufacturing line for the manufacture of carriages in Egypt.

In December 2019, the Russian Export Center introduced that Russian banks will supply loans to Egypt to fund the deal, whose value is estimated at round 1 billion euros ($1.16 billion).

The Egyptian-Russian cooperation within the railway sector was additionally evident in different offers, together with one to determine new railroad tracks in Egypt. On Sept. 17, state-owned Russian Railways introduced that it intends to construct two techniques of tracks in Egypt at a value of approximately $900 million. Sergey Pavlov, a director of Russian Railways, stated in a press assertion, “The first track is the Manashi-6th of October track, with a length of 70 kilometers [43 miles] and a cost of about $300 million, and the second is Imbabah-Alexandria track with a length of 270 kilometers [170 miles], and its cost is estimated at $600 million.”

He stated, “The company’s projects in Egypt have slowed down due to COVID-19,” including, “Our employees are already there and they are examining the location of projects in Egypt. We had planned to start working in January, yet due to the quarantine and the closure of the borders, it was impossible to do so, but our work has just kicked off.”

Egypt and Russia had additionally signed a sequence of cooperation protocols with the purpose to develop the railway community. In October 2019, Egypt signed a protocol of intent with Russian Railways on cooperation agreements in railway infrastructure. The protocol requires the institution of double railway tracks, along with establishing a primary railway management middle in Egypt, equally to how railways are managed in Russia.

In July 2019, the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production mentioned establishing an Egyptian manufacturing unit for carriage manufacturing with representatives from Transmashholding and Russian Railways.

In August 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a Russian delegation that included Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Georgy Kalamanov in addition to the pinnacle and representatives of Transmashholding and mentioned methods to assist the native manufacturing of carriages.

Sisi praised the Russian-Egyptian cooperation in growing the ERA throughout his speech on the first Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum within the Russian metropolis of Sochi in October 2019, saying, “Egypt values the partnership and cooperation in developing the railway system and manufacturing carriages in Egypt.”

The ERA suffered main losses in 2019, amounting to 12.three billion Egyptian kilos ($781 million). In May, Sisi mentioned with Wazir options for settling the ERA’ money owed, totaling about 250 billion Egyptian kilos ($15.Eight billion).

Waheed Qarqar, a consultant of the parliament’s Transport Committee, instructed Al-Monitor, “The ERA has suffered a series of losses and deteriorating infrastructure, rails and carriages.” He added, “The state wants to develop the ERA and limit its losses through cooperation with Russia, which has strong political and economic relations with Egypt.”

Qarqar famous, “Egypt realizes that Russia is one of the leading countries in the field of train manufacturing. It is thus seeking Russian expertise in building new tracks and establishing investment projects, such as the shops that will be located along those tracks.”

He went on, “This cooperation includes supporting Egypt’s local manufacturing of carriages in the coming periods.”

There have been rumors on social media about makes an attempt to denationalise the ERA in gentle of the offers signed with Russia, claims the Egyptian authorities and Ministry of Transport have denied. In a January assertion, the federal government stated, “The private sector in ERA is a partner in the railway development process, but ownership … will not be transferred to it.”

The ERA’s former president, Samir Nawar, instructed Al-Monitor, “Cooperation between Egypt and Russia cannot exactly be described as the privatization of the ERA,” including, “The Egyptian-Russian cooperation is basically Russian participation in the investment in the field of railway development, but ERA will remain state-owned.”

Nawar added that as a result of the costs of practice tickets very low and if privatized, the railway authority, must improve them, resulting in public anger. “The railway is an essential service for millions of Egyptians,” he stated. 

He burdened, “Egypt hopes that the success of the Egyptian-Russian cooperation in the railway field would encourage other states to cooperate with Egypt in this field. This could help the ERA solve many of the problems it is suffering from, including the deteriorating services and the lack of train maintenance.”