By: Rahab Saber
Hassan Zakaria, the president of Egyptian National Railways (ENR), along with a number of officials from Egypt’s Transportation Ministry, conducted an unexpected visit to China at the beginning of last week, meeting with officials from the company SRN to discuss plans for the latter to purchase 700 railway cars at an estimated cost of $570m.
A source from within ENR stated that Zakaria received a surprise invitation from the Chinese company to discuss further cooperation between the two sides, adding that the meeting began last Sunday, lasting seven days and ending on Sunday 12 May.
The source added that he did not expect the negotiations to end positively, as the Egyptian side had largely lost confidence in the quality of Chinese-made products, despite attempts made by the latter to meet the demands of their Egyptian partners. He added that the Egyptian side could not turn down the meeting due to the strong political ties between the two countries.
Hatim Abd al-Latif, Egypt’s Transportation Minister, emphasised that the Ministry had already sought to purchase 700 railway cars from China as part of its plan to further develop the Abu Qir and Suez rail lines.