Egypt: Transport Minister Unveils Strategy to Connect Egypt With Neighbors

The Transport Ministry, under Kamel el Wazir, has a clear strategy of action meant to connect Egypt with neighboring countries through the different means of transportation.

Wazir, who spoke in the House of Representatives Sunday, reviewed his plan of action to implement a 2018-2020 government program. He told MPs his Ministry acted to connect Egypt with its neighbors using intelligent transportation systems.

He touched upon a plan to connect Egypt with African neighbors through a land road that extends to nine states, including Sudan and Libya.

Work is also underway to upgrade the railway system, while action continues to establish the express electric train, the minister said in his statement to parliament.

The political leadership in Egypt pays big attention to improving the transport sector, which is key to achieving social and economic development, Wazir stressed.

Egypt has jumped 90 positions up in terms of international competitiveness, where the establishment of roads and bridges is concerned, said a proud Wazir.

He talked about “unprecedented” achievements over the past six years under the leadership of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi. One such achievement is an agreement, which Wazir called the biggest in Egypt’s railway history, to import 1,300 new carriages.

Another deal was sealed to purchase 300 tractors, of which 50 have already arrived, the minister said.

He put the total expenses of projects to bring up the railway to code over the past six years at 40 billion pounds, noting that other projects are being implemented at a cost of 86 billion pounds.

The Ministry is also working to improve the sign systems along railways, Wazir told parliament.

He touched upon a plan to settle the carriage industry in Egypt, noting that a deal was already reached with SEMAF and the manufacture of new carriages should start in July. Egypt will, in a later stage, be exporting carriages to African countries, Wazir further said.

The minister also talked about a future plan to establish an Egyptian company of transport in East Port Said to be owned by both the private sector and the government.

Wazir also reviewed a Ministry plan from 2014 through 2024 to implement 2,173 projects at a total cost of 1,522 billion pounds.

An integrated plan has also been outlined to upgrade the network of roads and bridges across Egypt through establishing new corridors over the Nile and reducing distances between the corridors to only 25 kilometers, the minister said. The plan is also meant to connect urban centers with economic and production hubs, he told MPs, noting that this should help increase inhabitants of under-populated regions through reduced journey times, thus also positively contributing to employment costs.

National companies are, meanwhile, working to implement an express train project over 1,795 kilometers after technical studies are completed, Wazir said. The train should cross the Sokhna road toward Borg el Arab in Alexandria, stopping in the New Capital, New Cairo, Helwan, the 15th of May city, Fayyoum, the 6th of October city, Sadat and Nubariya, the minister explained.

He also talked about efforts to upgrade the first and second lines of the metro, stressing that the Ministry is always acting to maintain this sector.

Wazir told parliament that a comprehensive plan has been designed to improve the river transport system, which is the most fuel-efficient, the cheapest and the safest means of transportation that is also environment-friendly. The idea is to activate the role played by river transport in ferrying goods from maritime ports, he noted.

The minister also touched upon a plan to establish new river ports and connect them with naval harbors and the railway network. He added that his Ministry seeks to replace and renew its Nile taxi to attract more commuters and reduce congestion on roads.

Commenting on the minister’s 150-page statement, some MPs highlighted the need to improve local roads in tandem with intercity road projects.

Head of the House Transport Committee Alaa Abed applauded the ministry’s success in upgrading the national road network, which helped push the county up in the world’s roads quality ranking.

Meanwhile, MP Mohamed Abdel Rahman turned the minister’s attention to the lack of adequate lighting and maintenance along Cairo-Alex Desert Road as well as the need to give more attention to Cairo’s Ring Road, especially in the areas around the capital city.

Wazir said that most of these issues are already on the ministry’s future agenda, noting that he is trying to persuade the ministry of planning to increase his ministry’s share in the state budget to satisfy the needs of many other projects.

The minister promised that to complete all the projects under way before 2024.

He also noted that the ministry had compensated all those evacuated from their homes for project expansions, stressing that none of them had been moved to any camps and the ministry has always been keen on providing them with adequate residence.