Egypt to invest billions in rail infrastructure
Egypt’s minister of transport has said the country is targeting up to €14.4billion (Dh55.85bn) worth of investment in newrail and metro projects.
Speaking at Middle East Rail conference on Tuesday, Hesham Arafat said the bulk of the investment being sought is for three high-speed rail lines running from Luxorto Cairo, Alexandriato Cairo and from Luxor to Hurghada, which will have a combinedcost of €13bn.
“These three lines are proposed for promoting tourist activity that is expected to reachmore than 30 million tourists per year by 2025,” Mr Arafat said.
The biggest of these is the Cairo to Luxor line – a €6bn, 700-kilometre line thatwill take about five years to build. Mr. Arafat said studies indicate investors would earn an internal rate of return of about 9 percent on the project, whichis expected to carry about 3.4 million passengers per year.
“You canfinance it using any model, like BOT [build, operate, transfer] or directfinance,” he said.
The €4bn Luxor to Hurghada line will be 300km, carry 1.5 million passengers and will offer returns of 10 percent, according to the ministry. It will take four years to build.
The Alexandria to Cairoline has an estimated cost of €3bn and will be 210km long, carrying up to 2.3million passengers a year. It is expected to take three years to build and offer returns of 11 per cent over its life span.
Other projects for which it is seeking backing include a €934m, 34km underground line in Cairofrom Imbaba to the airport, a €275m super tram linking satellite cities in NewCairo to the underground network, an €82m passenger and freight line fromMansoura to Damietta and an €85m freight line connecting Egypt’s biggestphosphate mine at Abu Tartur to Safaga port.
The ministry is also seeking a partner to operate an 8,725 square metre shopping mall connected to a railway station at Alexandriaport aimed at tourists.
The minister said that Egypt is a “pro-business” country offering a robust investment regime, with a new investment law due to be introduced later this month that will allow for 100 per cent foreign ownership of companies and protection against expropriation of profits or compulsory pricing.
Meanwhile, Oman Rail has said that it may seek public-private partners with interests in miningto help develop its first rail line.
The 400km line will connect Ash Shuwaymiyah in the south to Duqm port with a view totransporting gypsum from newly created mines.
Oman Rail’s general manager of projects, Nathan Wiles, said that the creation of a new mining industry was “one of the key pillars of diversification” forthe Omani government. The public authority for mining has set up an invest mentand licensing arm, mineral development of Oman, which is undertaking studies togauge the reserve levels and the quality of gypsum in the area, with a view to feeding this into a public-private partnership model to attract investors.
Oman Rail has said that it expects to appoint three consultants within the next month that it will use to design the line and associated port facilities.
Mr Wiles said the northern section of the line that will connect with UAE’s Etihad Rail is ready to go assoon as other GCC countries commit to the project. Oman Rail chose a preferred bidder to deliver this section back in 2015 but has had to postpone theproject’s start.