Egypt’s Ministry of Transportation signed an agreement worth $1.24bn with a joint coalition of China’s AVIC International and China Railway Group Limited on Tuesday in order to build a light rail transit connecting new districts around Cairo.
The planned light rail is a fast tram, expected to cover a distance of 66 km and to have 11 stations, with a traveling speed expected to reach 120 km/hour, connecting the under-construction New Administrative Capital city with distant districts of Greater Cairo, including Al-Salam City, 10th Ramadan City, Obour City, Badr City, and Shorouk City.
Moreover, it’s planned that the light rail will be connected to Cairo’s metro, through Adly Mansour station in Al-Salam City, which is the final station on the third metro line. The project is to be funded by the Exim Bank of China with $739m through a soft loan, while $500m will be allocated from Egypt’s general budget.
The signing ceremony between Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) and the joint coalition of China’s AVIC International and China Railway Group Limited was attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Transportation Minister Hesham Arafat, and Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo.
NAT head Tarek Gamal El-Din said the project will start within two or three months, expecting it to accommodate 340,000 passengers daily, reduce traffic on the Cairo-Ismailia highway by about 30 percent, and save Egypt around EGP 2.3bn annually.
Negotiations with the Chinese companies have been ongoing for three years. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi met earlier in mid-July with the Chinese coalition for negotiations over the key project.
The Chinese group said it would assign Egyptian contractors with some civil and railway construction works that will provide thousands of job opportunities in the country. The Egyptian contractors would be Orascom, Petrojet, and The Arab Contractors.
Furthermore, the project is projected to be initiated before the end of 2017 and is planned to be completed within two calendar years. The project will include 20 trams upon completion.