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Monday, 18 January 2021

Who’s in on high-speed electric rail?

Orascom Construction (OC) and Arab Contractors are working with Siemens on the USD 23 bn high-speed electric rail network after the consortium signed an MoU with the National Authority for Tunnels, OC confirmed in a statement (pdf) yesterday. The three companies will design, install, and commission the rail system, which the statement says will span a 1,000 km network but Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir said on the airwaves earlier this week will cover 1,750 km in total.

Wait, weren’t there other companies working on this rail network? Unconfirmed local press reports last year had suggested that a consortium of Samcrete, Arab Organization for Industrialization, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, and China Railway Construction Corporation were awarded the contract for the first phase of the rail network. Other reports emerged indicating that the Transport Ministry also brought in OC, Arab Contractors, and Concord for Engineering and Contracting to speed up the construction process. It appears, however, that none of these companies was actually contracted and that they were simply throwing their hats in the ring, and the Transport Ministry scrapped the initial tender altogether because the offers were too expensive.

Where will the rail line run? The first phase will link Ain Sokhna to El Alamein via the new administrative capital and Alexandria.

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