Morocco Gets $112.3 Million Loan from AfDB

29/01/2016 (The Norh Africa Post - Morocco): Morocco’s railway authority received Wednesday a $112.3 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) earmarked for doubling train tracks on the Settat-Marrakech route.The new deal signed in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, will enable Morocco’s National Railway Authority (ONCF) to double train tracks on the 142 km-long Settat-Marrakech route; a project which will help boost activities and yield enormous returns.Reports say the project will end in 2020 and will necessitate $400 million.According to the AfDB, the project will shorten the trip time between Casablanca and Marrakech to 40 minutes instead of 3 hours. It will also increase traffic and number of travelers by 2020 to 7.4 million per year compared to 4.5 million over the 2014-2015 period...

Algeria, China ink $3.3 bn mega port deal

18/01/2016 (The Bric Post - UK): Algeria and China on Sunday inked a $3.3 billion deal to build and exploit a new center trans-shipment port of Cherchell,  55 miles west of the capital city of Algiers.Algeria, an OPEC state, has billed it as a crucial Mediterranean transit port that will provide services to North Africa and Europe.The agreement was signed between Algeria’s Transport Ministry, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) and China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) in Algeria.Chinese construction firms have won billions of dollars worth of infrastructure contracts from Algeria in recent years.Under the deal inked on Sunday, the two sides will create a consortium company, to be finalized in March, to build the port.The port will have 23 docks capable of processing 6.5 million 20-foot containers and 26 million tons of goods per year.

China, Egypt sign $15b in deals as Xi touts development

22/01/2016 (Gulf News - UAE): Beijing: China and Egypt signed $15 billion (Dh55 billion) worth of agreements before President Xi Jinping headed to Iran, where he will finish a Middle East trip aimed at boosting China’s diplomatic clout in one of the world’s most volatile regions.China Railway Group Ltd. is part of a consortium of companies that won a rail project in Egypt worth $1.1 billion, while China State Construction Engineering Corp. signed a $2.7 billion contract to build a convention centre, parliament and government offices, the two companies said in separate filings to the Shanghai stock exchange Friday.Xi’s five-day trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, his first to the Middle East since taking power in November 2012, marks 60 years of relations between Beijing and the Arab League. The deals are part of China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy that aims to strengthen economic and transport ties across Eurasia, while raising China’s profile as a global power.

Russia, Egypt to sign memorandum on Russian industrial zone in Egypt soonMore:

24/01/2016 (Tass - Russia): CAIRO, January 24. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt will sign a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a Russian industrial zone in the area of the Suez Canal during a regular session of the intergovernmental commission due to be held on January 31-February 2 in Cairo, well-informed sources in Cairo told TASS on Sunday. The Russian delegation will be led by Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov. It will include representatives from some 60 leading Russian companies interested in energy and transport infrastructure projects in Egypt. Apart from that, the Russian Direct Investment Fund is expected to sign a memorandum with a number of Egyptian commercial banks under the project for the establishment of Egypt’s five-billion-U.S. dollar investment fund with participation of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the United Arab Emirates. The would-be fund is expected to invest in the construction of subways, a railway line, a logistics center and a tourist hub.

Etihad suspends tender process for second stage railway line

27/01/2016 (Times of Oman - Oman): Dubai: Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Rail has suspended the tender process for stage two of the project, which is due to take the line west to the UAE’s border with Saudi Arabia and east to Dubai and Oman, according to a statement on Tuesday.The richest of the UAE’s seven emirates derives 51 per cent of its gross domestic product from oil, putting state spending under pressure after the price of crude slumped to $30 a barrel. HSBC this month trimmed its 2015 growth estimate for the UAE as a whole to 2.3 per cent from 2.4 per cent.Etihad Rail, which has pledged to spend Dh40 billion ($11 billion) on its part of the pan-Gulf network, put the bidding on hold after suggesting on January 17 that tenders were in their final stages, even after the company dismissed one-third of its workforce, citing a need to streamline operations.

China Civil, a reliable partner in contruction

19/01/2016 (Arab News - KSA): RIYADH: China Civil, a giant engineering construction corporation company, is currently implementing various mega projects in Saudi Arabia, including CTW400 Railway Projects — Az-Zabirah junction to King Khaled International Airport (from Qassim to Riyadh), the Haramain high speed railway Phase 1 Package 1 project in Jeddah. It is also engaged in the construction of a tunnel at the intersection of King Abdul Aziz road with Palestine and Al-Hamra streets in Jeddah, construction of bridge at the intersection of Arafat Road and Al-Kharj Road in Riyadh and two bridges (Abu Bakar Intersection and Prince Muteb Intersection) in Najran.The company was established in 1979 according to the approval of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China

Jerusalem Municipality approves second light rail line

28/01/2016 (The Jerusalem Post - Israel): Construction for a new 20 kilometer-long second light rail line was approved by the Jerusalem Municipality’s Planning Committee Wednesday night, clearing the way for final approval from the city’s Regional Committee.According to the municipality, the Blue Line, as it has been named, will carry up to 250,000 passengers from Gilo in the south, up to Ramot in the northern portion of the city. A second part of the line will also traverse Malha, Emek Rafaim, and Ramot.Presently, the Red Line, which became operational in 2011, services tens of thousands of residents and visitors each day from Pisgat Ze’ev to Mount Herzl.

Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey railway to be constructed in 2016

29/01/2016 (Trend - Azerbaijan): The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway will be constructed in 2016, Turkish Ambassador to Azerbaijan Alper Coskun told reporters Jan. 29.“The technical problems delayed the BTK project implementation,” he said. “But they have already been resolved.”Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is being constructed on the basis of a Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement. Azerbaijan allocated a loan of $775 million for the construction of the railway’s Georgian section.A new 105-kilometer branch of the railroad is being constructed as part of the project.The peak capacity of the corridor will be 17 million metric tons of cargo per year. At the initial stage, this figure will be equal to one million passengers and 6.5 million metric tons of cargo.The annual transit of goods from Iran to Russia via Azerbaijan will reach about ten million tons. The North-South railway will connect Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will serve as a link to connect the railways of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

China may heavily subsidize container rail shipments to Russia

29/01/2016 (JOC - USA): China may subsidize up to 50 percent of the containerized rail traffic between it and Russia, according to recent statements from Sergei Kopiev, chairman of Yuzhno Uralsky, one of Russia’s largest transport and logistics operators.  The subsidies, which will apply to trade moving in both directions, come at a time of economic uncertainty in both countries and could be an indication that operators expect demand to weaken. Containerized rail volume between China and Russia rose 85 percent year-over-year to 190,000 units in 2015, accoriding to the Russian Ministry of Transport.The subsidy program will first apply to routes through Russia’s Chelyabinsk and other Ural regions, and may later be expanded.Presently, the base rate on railway tariffs for shipping a container is roughly $5,000 per container, while the subsidies will reduce them to $2,500 to $3,000, according to Kopiev. The goal is to make the routes more competitive and the subsidies are part of China’s Belt and Road development scheme.As the subsidy program is implemented and its effectiveness measured, China may consider partially subsidizing containers bound for the EU via Russia.

Russia's Options for Connecting to Iran

13/01/2016 (Stratfor - USA): Russia wants to expand its transit networks – and its influence – south to Iran, but doing so will not be easy. For the Russians, no geographic barrier has ever proved as daunting as the Caucasus Mountains, and few of the Caucasus transit states could be considered Russia's friends. These factors will make it difficult for Russia to build infrastructure that transits the region uninterrupted, but in the end, Moscow and Tehran will likely work together to try to overcome the significant obstacles in the Caucasus and to curb the presence of other major powers in the region.So far, Russia has managed to build two roads through the South Caucasus to Iran. The first runs along the Caspian Sea, through Dagestan and Azerbaijan, while the second follows the Georgian Military Road through the Jvari Pass in the Caucasus Mountains. However, the first road's use is limited by the historically unfriendly relationship between Azerbaijan and Iran. The second is often closed during the winter and cannot be used easily by the larger trucks that would be necessary in any expansion of overland trade between Russia and Iran or Armenia.