EGYPT: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development is considering providing a sovereign loan of up to €150m to support a €224m plan for Egyptian National Railways to purchase up to 50 diesel locomotives as part of a strategy to reform and commercialise the rail freight sector.

The intention is that the new locomotives would be provided under a competitively tendered supply and maintenance contract and would offer greater availability, reliability, efficiency and environmental performance than the current fleet. Outsourced maintenance would be undertaken at a new depot to be built on ENR land.

The wider commercialisation programme includes the proposed separation of ENR’s freight operations into a separate subsidiary with managerial independence, and the introduction of track access charges which would provide a framework for future private sector involvement in the rail market.