Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir
During an inspection tour of railway projects in Cairo, El-Wazir said that this will facilitate increasing the railway’s financial sources, especially with the Ministry of Transportation’s plan to increase private sector participation in the management and operation of several railway-related sectors.
El-Wazir added that the move will allow for increasing the transportation of goods via railways, which will in turn lead to preserving and safeguarding highway networks.
In February, the ERA invited tenders from the private sector to bid on managing and operating the goods transport project.
According to February’s ERA figures, Egypt’s railway sector, the second-oldest in the world with 9,570 km of track running across the country, transports around 500 million passengers 5.6 million tons of goods annually.
In a published guide for private companies looking to invest in the sector, the ERA said its current railway fleet is capable of transporting 7 million tons of goods, but with the entry of new vehicles, this number will gradually increase.
El-Wazir said that the authority has contracted the state-owned SEMAF Railways factory to manufacture 1,215 new and different models of goods vehicles to support the current fleet.
Officials have previously said that the authority aims to transport about 30 million tons of goods via railways by year 2030.
In October 2020, the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of the Public Sector signed an agreement to establish a company to operate the goods transportation sector in the Railway Authority.
In 2018, the House of Representatives approved amendments to the law governing the ERA, giving a green light to private sector companies to build, manage, operate and maintain the railway network.
The amendments give the ERA the right to establish joint-venture companies that can be listed on the stock market.
El-Wazir said earlier in August that the ERA's debt had reached EGP 88 billion pounds, but now EGP 83 billion of this debt has been paid.
“Now we have achieved revenues of up to EGP 9 billion annually, which was approximately EGP 4 billion the previous year, and our expenses are worth EGP 10 billion,” El-Wazir said, adding that there is only an EGP 1 billion deficit.
The minister added that from next year, and specifically from the beginning of August 2023, the sector will no longer be incurring losses.