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Thursday, 14 January 2021

High-speed rail uber alles

Siemens looks poised to work on a 1,000 km high-speed national electric rail network worth some USD 23 bn. The CEO of the German conglomerate, Joe Kaeser, was in Cairo yesterday for talks with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the project, according to an Ittihadiya statement, which says that a final agreement was put forward during the meeting but as yet remains unsigned.

The project’s first 460-km phase will connect Ain Sokhna to Alamein via the new administrative capital. Work would start immediately on the project, which is expected to cost some USD 6 bn (c. EGP 94 bn), feature 15 stations and take two years to complete, the statement said. The price tag includes USD 3 bn for the civil and construction works, which are being carried out by a consortium that includes China Railway Engineering Corporation, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, the Arab Organization for Industrialization, Orascom Construction, Samcrete, Arab Contractors. The government previously said it is looking to recruit Siemens to supply the electrical systems and trains.

Siemens has proven experience with megaprojects — and there should be plenty of work for the domestic private sector on this. Siemens brought in local players for a multi-bn program to build the world’s three largest combined-cycle power plants a few years back when the country was struggling with an electricity crisis.

ALSO MEETING THE PREZ YESTERDAY- The chairman of German shipbuilder Lürssen Werft, who offered to train Egyptian naval engineers, Ittihadiya said in a statement.

IN OTHER TRANSPORT NEWS-

We could see a new EV ride-hailing app, courtesy of the government and the white taxi association, before the year is out, El Watan reports, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The plan is part of the government’s strategy to begin locally assembling electric vehicles, with the first 100 EVs produced split between cabs and passenger cars, the sources said. The new cabs will be rolled out alongside an application for users to book rides in Cairo and Alexandria in its first phase and mostly stationed nearby malls and commercial centers.

On that note- El Nasr Automotive is expected to sign soon the final contracts for its partnership with China’s Dongfeng to assemble electric vehicles locally, with plans to install the assembly line in 2Q2021 and begin production in 4Q2021.

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