Contracted companies to sell rights to billboard construction, advertising space on trains
CAIRO: The Railway Authority (RA) is working with promoters to lease its estimated 190 million sq. m. of land properties and sell advertising space on its trains, according to a Ministry of Transport (MoT) official.
The Egyptian Company for Railway Projects is now examining 25 offers from investors for land plots in several governorates. The company also is preparing a conditions statement for advertising on trains to be issued by the end of the month.
Taking advantage of un-utilized land is a major component of MoT s railways renovation plan calling for RA to break-even by 2010, according to Minister of Transport Mohamed Mansour. The authority lost LE 1.6 billion in 2005 and has compiled more than LE 6 billion in losses since 2002. Final 2006 numbers have not yet been released.
After securing LE 5 billion from the People s Assembly in September 2006 to upgrade the railways system, MoT began implementing a series of steps to generate more revenue from the authority including raising first class fares by 15 percent. MoT is now working on increasing freight transportation standing at just 12 million tons, or 5 percent of total national cargo movement in 2005. The ministry has signed with General Electric to purchase 40 engines for LE 120 million and is now negotiating the purchase of 40 more.
Despite developments in the ministry s push to increase private sector involvement in the railways, Mansour has repeatedly denied any intentions to privatize the railroads citing national security and concern over providing affordable service to low income segments.
Mansour has not, however, ruled out increasing ticket prices, but only after improving services, he said. Last week, Mansour said the ministry plans to spend LE 3 billion in the next two years to upgrade the railways signaling system, integrating the use of GPS technology, in order to avert crashes like the one in Qalyub last August.