Egypt has updated an old law to allow private sector companies to invest and operate in the rail industry.

According to Egypt’s Transport Minister Hesham Arafaat, the updated law “will allow private companies to invest in the construction of new lines as well as other activities relating to financing and operating existing lines”.

The old law was enacted in 1980 to establish and define the role of the Egyptian National Railway (ENR) as the owner and operator of the country’s mainline railway assets.

Egypt is modernising its existing mainline railway, which, at 9,600 kilometres, is the longest of its kind in the Middle East and Africa region.

There are also plans to build 2,000km of high-speed railway, including the 534km railway linking Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea coast and the new Alamein city on the Mediterranean coast.

At least 20 firms sought to prequalify last month for the contracts to build, finance and maintain the high-speed railway system, including two monorail schemes.

The projects are to be executed using a combined engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) and financing model.

There is also a plan to build a 1,500km high-speed railway linking Sokhna with Marsa Alam.

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