Under the deal, it will move 700,000 tonnes a year (t/y) for the Al-Nasr Company for Coke & Basic Chemicals.

NRTC, which has a capital of $100m, is owned by Cairo-based private equity firm Citadel Capital. It aims to be moving 12 million t/y of cargo within five years.

The company has bought 23 barges for refurbishment and will enter into contracts with three shipyards to build 90 new barges over a three-year period.

Historically, the state-owned Nile General Company for River Transportation has dominated cargo shipping on the country’s inland waterways.

A total of 300 million tonnes of cargo are moved in Egypt every year, but less than 1 per cent of this is transported by river.