Joint Egyptian-Austrian company to operate Abbassiya workshop for railway switches

Sami Hegazi
6 Min Read

The Egyptian National Railways signed a contract with Austrian company Voest Albin to manage and operate the Abbassiya workshop for the production of railway switches.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Minister of Transportation Kamel El-Wazir, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg, and Austrian Minister of Interior Gerhard Karner.

El-Wazir stated that the contract includes raising the efficiency of the current production line at the Abbasiya Workshop to turn it into a modern production line supported by the latest high-tech machines to ensure the quality of the product and to reach the production of 300 keys a year.

It also includes the construction of a new line equipped with the latest high-tech machinery to produce 600 switches a year, as well as the transfer of modern manufacturing technology and the training of Egyptian workers under the supervision of experts from the Austrian company. This is in addition to the gradual use of local components during the manufacturing process.

The percentage of local manufacturing reached 95% by the end of the modernisation drive, which is one of the important steps in the settlement of the transportation industry in Egypt.

The minister added that the plan to establish a joint company between the two sides aims to achieve local market self-sufficiency in keys, especially with the increase in demand.

This is in parallel with the expansion of the projects implemented by the Ministry of Transportation, whether to modernise the current 10,000 kilometres of railway, the fast electric train system, or the ongoing subway projects.

The contract is a successful example of cooperation with international private sector operators as part of the ministry’s plan to foster relations with the private sector to manage and operate a number of railway workshops and sectors, he added.

This is in order to provide an outstanding service to the public and promote this vital and important facility, which carries millions of passengers annually, and to preserve the property and assets of the facility and maximise its resources.

El-Wazir also discussed with the Austrian ministers — in the presence of Austria’s Ambassador in Cairo — strengthening cooperation in various fields of transportation.

He also praised the existing cooperation in the field of railways, represented by tamping machines, maintenance of railway network lines, and cooperation in the river transportation system, represented by the implementation of the RIS project.

Moreover, the minister expressed his aspiration for further cooperation in all fields of transportation, especially in the field of railways, due to the great progress of the Austrian side in this field.

For his part, Schallenberg said that his visit to Egypt is a reflection of the strong relationship between the two countries’ political leadership and friendly peoples, and a reflection of Egypt’s great status, its role at the international level, and the renaissance it witnessed in all fields, including the transportation sector. He also stressed the great interest of Austrian companies in increasing the volume of cooperation with Egyptian companies.

During the talks, El-Wazir also pointed to the implementation of giant projects in the field of transportation in implementation of the directives of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, such as the high-speed electric train network with a total length of 2000 km, in addition to the development of all Egyptian ports to make Egypt a global centre for trade and logistics.

Furthermore, he noted that the political leadership directed to reduce the distances between the axes of the Nile to 25 kilometres instead of 100 kilometres to connect the road networks east and west of the Nile, facilitate the movement of citizens, and serve the movement of trade, Industry, tourism, and agriculture.

He also pointed to existing cooperation with many international companies in the fields of transport, such as the field of maritime transport, in which cooperation is being carried out with many international companies, such as the China’s Hatzion, CMA France, Eurojet, Conchip, and Hapag Lloyd.

El-Wazir added that there are many investment opportunities in the field of transport that can form successful models for cooperation, especially since the investment climate in Egypt is promising.

It was also agreed to implement a plan to train groups of Egyptian engineers in Egypt by specialised experts from Austria to work in the Egyptian, African, and Middle Eastern markets and to intensify meetings between the two sides in the coming period to increase the participation of Austrian companies in the projects of the ministry.

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