Private sector to take part in river transport in early FY2018-19

Government wants more private-sector investment in river transport: The River Transport Authority is planning to issue a tender to have the private sector develop and run ports along the Nile in early FY2018-19, which begins in July, authority head Abdel Azim Mohamed reportedly said on Tuesday. He added that an unnamed Saudi-Bahraini consortium is close to signing a USD 100 mn agreement to develop a waterway connecting the Port Said industrial zone with the Nile River. He also reportedly said that a Ukrainian company had reached a USD 100 mn this month with the authority to transport key goods after a delegation from the company visited Egypt this month. By our count, he could be referring to Ukrainian grain trader Nebulon, which is studying the possibility of investing in grain storage and transport projects in Damietta. His statements come as the government looks to encourage private-sector investment in the sector, where non-government players include companies owned by Qalaa Holdings and Raya Holdings. The Transport Ministry is planning to launch tenders for the development of four Nile ports once legislation regulating river traffic and commercial transport is passed. Rumors abound that the Ismail Cabinet is about enact a decision mandating government bodies move a portion of their supplies through the Nile.