The French company Alstom, one of the biggest railway, tram, and metro manufacturers in the world, said that the New Administrative Capital that is being implemented by the Egyptian government will become a unique creation among smart cities in Africa.
“We are interested in the implementation of metro and tram lines in the New Administrative Capital, as well as the restoration and renovation of the tram line in Alexandria,” said Didier Pfleger, senior vice president for the Middle East and Africa, during a tour organised by the company.
He added that Alstom has global experience in providing transportation solutions and has a prominent position in the Egyptian market, as it has already implemented the first and second lines of the metro in the capital Cairo and is currently carrying out the maintenance of infrastructure and signals for the first and second phases of the third metro line in Cairo. It is also participating in the third and fourth stages of the third line and renewing the main railway in coordination with the Egyptian National Railways.
He explained that Alstom’s international experience and its notable experience in the Egyptian market makes it an ideal partner for the Egyptian government to participate in the implementation of the development projects to be completed in the new capital and other new projects announced by the Egyptian government, such as high-speed trains, electric trains, and new metro lines.
Daily News Egypt sat down for an interview with Pfleger to discuss Egypt’s infrastructure boom and how Alstom can play a role in it.
What is your opinion about the actions taken by the Egyptian government on infrastructure?
Alstom has been present in the country for over 35 years and is very proud to support the important trend of infrastructure development in the country. Indeed, our vision is to be committed and engaged to become among the first to contribute to this positive change in Egypt, in relation to plans announced by Minister of Transport Hesham Arafat.
Is Alstom in negotiations with the Egyptian government about mobility and railway projects now? Especially since Egypt declared that it will launch seven metro lines instead of three, high speed trains, and metro projects in the new capital. Also, line 4 is being built by a Japanese company. What is Alstom’s position on this?
All the new projects that have been announced by the government are being taken into consideration by Alstom and we are looking forward to participating in several of them as soon as they are tendered. With recognised international industrial expertise in developing sustainable mobility solutions and a real local footprint in Egypt, Alstom is well positioned to be part of the development of the new capital [east of] Cairo; indeed, we believe that this project will be a symbol of smart cities in Africa.
Alstom built line 1 and 2 of the metro in Cairo; is there follow up of the two lines in terms of maintenance or renovation? Or has Alstom’s role ended?
Alstom is willing to participate in the renovation of line 1 as a starting point. The scope of Alstom will bid for includes the renovation of the signalling system and work on power stations. However, Alstom is currently in charge of infrastructure and signalling maintenance of line 3’s first and second phase and is participating in the third and fourth phase too.
Egypt has signed contracts with a Japanese company to execute line 4. Is the financial scheme adopted in the project compatible with Alstom, in terms of financing projects through loans to the Egyptian government?
Line 4 is being built by a Japanese-Egyptian alliance, and therefore, Alstom is looking at how to best contribute to this project. As for all our tender offers, a dedicated team is committed to ensuring we propose the best scheme for the project and the customer.
Do you have a cooperation strategy with African nations to develop their transport infrastructures? Are you interested in participating in the project to connect north and south Africa (Alexandria to Cape Town)?
Alstom is a company with a large portfolio including several innovations to better address mobility needs with products and solutions adapted to the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Therefore, we are ready to answer all mobility needs in all MEA countries, including requests to develop transport infrastructures in African nations. We want to offer our support to participate in the rail industry revitalisation of countries and assist MEA countries in their rail development. Regarding the project to connect North and South Africa, we will study the case if we are requested to do so.
Tell me about the latest technology in mobility that Alstom has launched?
We aim to achieve smarter mobility for passengers and we are doing so through a range of products.
Optimet OrbanMap is an intelligent metro map, a real-time dynamic information for metro networks that was designed for collective use, and to be located in metro stations. It allows visualising, at a glance, the metro network, its activity, train positions, travel times, service interruptions, and the level of comfort aboard the trains.
As passengers are requiring more and more flexibility and seamless transport from door to door, Alstom has invested
€14m in EasyMile, an innovative startup which manufactures an electric autonomous shuttle called EZ10, defined as an electric collective shuttle that can accommodate up to 12 passengers.
Since April 2015, EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 locations in 14 countries in Asia, North America, the Middle East (ME), and Europe. In France, it is now being tested in Paris. The testing started in September 2016.
Alstom, together with its subsidiary NTL, has launched a new experience of mobility to complete our emission-free, 100% electric range of solutions
Aptis’ design is inspired by the look of a tram. It offers passengers a never seen before full low floor. Aptis can carry up to 95 passengers on board.
In our strategy to enhance passenger experience and accelerate digitalisation of our offerings, Alstom acquired Nomad Digital, a world leading provider of passenger and fleet connectivity solutions for the railway industry. Nomad’s solutions include wifi connection solutions as well as entertainment platforms (video, music, and playback) or connected on-board services, for example, passengers ordering coffee from their seats.
We also have driving assistance, which increases the capacity and quality of service for metros. Alstom has equipped more than 50 lines with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) in cities like Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Lausanne, and Panama City.
The company has implemented some of the first driverless metros in the world (Lille Metro in the 1980s and first driverless heavy metro in Singapore).
To make maintenance more efficient, we have formulated predictive maintenance mechanisms through advanced data science. HealthHub is a solution that collects data from rolling stock, infrastructure, and signalling systems and allows predictive maintenance across all assets. The solution enables shifting from traditional mileage-based maintenance towards condition-based and predictive maintenance. To achieve this, the algorithms developed combine advanced data analysis with the technical system experience from design and operation.
What are your projects and the value of your investments in the MEA region?
We have several emblematic projects in the MEA region. Some of our projects are ongoing and others are already in commercial service.
We developed several urban projects in North and Central Africa and in the Middle East, especially in tramways and metros. For example, we developed tramways in several cities in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria through our Cital joint venture (JV). We have several projects in Egypt, including the Cairo Metro and renovation of main rail lines with Egyptian National Railways.
Thanks to strong expertise in integrated solutions (leadership in systems), we succeeded in implementing several projects, such as the Dubai Tram, Dubai Metro extension, Lusail Tram, and Riyadh Metro.
In term of regional trains, several projects have been awarded to Alstom, including regional trains in Algeria and Senegal, and the suburban train being built by Prasa in collaboration with Gibela JV, which is the most important contract won by Alstom, with 600 trains and a local factory.
We also have projects in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan with 2 JVs: EKZ & KEP, as well as work on signalling, services, and infrastructures projects.
We also expect to win other contracts in the MEA, including in new emerging countries located in Central Africa.
How many countries do you have a project or more in and where? Especially tram and metro projects.
Alstom has a wide footprint in several MEA countries, including Western and Central Asia. Our vision is to be close to our customers and to well understand their mobility needs. Therefore, proximity is key to our strategy. With almost 4,000 employees, as well as design and project management offices, project worksites, and maintenance facilities, Alstom has been well established in the Middle East and Africa region for a long time.
We have succeeded in creating a real regional railway ecosystem; we have supplied trains, signalling systems, infrastructure, and maintenance services in the region’s main cities with the support of a mix of international and local teams—more than 64 nationalities are working on our projects.
Finally, corporate social responsibility is a key element in the deployment of our strategy in the region. Indeed, one of the key actions we have undertaken is the several partnerships with schools and universities we have secured.
Today, we are present in more than 14 countries, including Algeria (trams in Algiers, Oran, Constantine, and Sidi Bel Abbes); Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan (freight and passenger locomotives); Egypt (Cairo Metro, renovation, signalling, and infrastructure); Saudi Arabia (metro); Morocco (trams in Rabat and Casablanca, Prima locomotives, electrification, signalling system, and maintenance); Qatar (tram); Senegal (regional trains); South Africa (suburban trains); Tunisia (tram in Tunis and electrification); Turkey (Istanbul Tram and Metro, ERTMS signalling, and high-speed train maintenance); and the UAE (Dubai Tram, maintenance and extension/capacity enhancement of Dubai Metro).