The head of the River Transport Authority (RTA), Abdel-Azim Mohamed, told Daily News Egypt that his authority is negotiating with the Dutch embassy on the behalf of Netherlands’ government to begin a new joint cooperation project to improve the Nile River transportation project.
Mohamed added that the Dutch side offered initial funds ranging from €150,000 to €200,000 for the proposed project, aiming at building capacity while the RTA requests to co-finance a suggested study for developing the existing pound lock.
“We are very open to develop the existing pound lock and building an additional one, or destroying the existing pound lock and establishing a new huge one,” said Mohamed, clarifying that the RTA aims at increasing the goods transported through the existing pound lock to 20m tonnes.
Mohamed noted that the current amount of transported goods through the existing pound lock ranges from 2.5m tonnes to 3m, adding, “The gap between the current amount of transported goods and our goal is very huge, hence we will be needing the support of the experienced countries like the Netherlands to help achieve our goal.”
Mohamed said that the RTA has already sent its suggested ideas to improve the Nile River transportation project to the Dutch side, adding that Dutch government promised expanding the current cooperation with the RTA.
Mohamed emphasised that the RTA is cooperating with other countries to benefit from their experiences to boost river transportation, including the Netherlands, reaffirming the importance of encouraging private sector investments and partnerships with the Egyptian government, noting that involving private sector companies in the Nile transportation plans needs more governmental incentives.
Mohamed said that his authority aims at attracting Dutch companies to participate in managing the river ports, noting that Dutch companies already have great experience in operating and managing river transportation systems.
Mohamed added that the RTA has a longstanding cooperation with the Netherlands, noting that the Dutch government has already funded developing the Regional Institute for River Transport (RIRT), affiliated to the RTA.
“The Dutch government helped to update the RIRT’s curriculum. Developing the RIRT is our first step to attract more students from Nile Basin countries,” said Mohamed.
Notably, the RTA received a party in the Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Development in Higher Education project funded by the Netherlands, and the STC Group, as delivering party, purchased the classroom to enhance the curriculum for its inland waterways training at the RIRT in July 2013. The six NAUTIS simulators were delivered and installed by VSTEP at the RIRT headquarters in Cairo, according to VSTEP’s official website.
DNE mentioned that the RTA is preparing a protocol with Dakahlia governorate and Nile Taxi Company to activate river transportation in the capital of Dakahlia, Mansoura, adding, “The proposed protocol will allow Nile Taxi to operate Nile buses and Nile taxis in Mansoura.”
Meanwhile, the Dutch embassy’s official page on Facebook mentioned that water management is one of the greatest challenges facing the agri-food sector, adding, “Worldwide, less and less water per head of the population is going to be available for food production,” adding, “Realising food security in the coming decades means that yields per hectare will have to increase, with prudent use of water and nutrients. Working on sustainable solutions for water and agri-food means cooperation, an integrated approach, and efficient use of land and water using smart solutions of high quality.”