Egypt promotes river transport to ease road congestion
Egypt’s Ministry of Transporthas earmarked around 4 billion Egyptian pounds ($130 million) for new river transport projects, as part of the government’s drive to ease traffic congestion on the country’s roads, reduce transportation costs, and reduce pollution.
A single ship can shift substantial amounts of cargo — equivalent to the load of hundreds of large trucks. Moreover, river transport facilitates connections with other African nations, particularly land-locked countries and those located in the Nile Basin.
According to the ministry, development work has been carried out the Cairo-to-Aswan and Cairo-to-Ismailia maritime routes, while the Ismailia Canal’s navigational bottlenecks have “been eliminated.”
The Cairo-to-Alexandria route has also seen enhancements, along with the river pier at Wadi Halfa port in Sudan. An important part of these developments is the establishment of the Nile River Information Infrastructure System.
Transport Minister Engineer Kamel Al-Wazir said in a press briefing: “River transport is considered one of the most crucial elements of infrastructure and distinguishes itself from other modes of transport by numerous advantages. It is characterized by its low operation and maintenance costs. It is deemed the safest mode of transport, with minimal accidents and energy consumption. In addition, it reduces emissions and is capable of carrying loads of atypical lengths and weights.”
Egypt has entered into agreements with multiple African countries, including Sudan, to bolster river transport and amplify trade exchange. There are plans to connect with Nile Basin countries through the navigational corridor project between Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean Sea.
Wafaa El-Sherbiny, an expert in transportation, told Arab News: “The state’s move toward public transport completely relieves pressure on the roads, and investing in river transport contributes to decreasing the proportion of the general budget spent on road maintenance, in addition to preserving the environment.”
She added that the move also reduces visual, auditory, and air pollution caused by land transport and lowers accident rates resulting from road travel.
“A single river unit can replace approximately 40 land transport trucks. This greatly reduces transportation costs as river transport integrates with land transport through the multimodal transport system to deliver goods and shipments from door to door, a fundamental requirement for the business community,” El-Sherbiny said.