Trans-Maghreb rail link under consideration
Tunisias Ministry of Transport (MoT) has received about 30 expressions of interest for a national transport masterplan study.
The 2040 masterplan will involve an analysis of existing infrastructure, demand projections and scenarios, and future strategy proposals.
Investment in the sector until 2040 will depend on the projects and programmes selected from those identified in the plan, and on national five-year plans, said a spokesperson for the MoT.
A contract for the study is expected to be awarded by the end of 2015, with completion scheduled by 2018.
The study will be funded by the African Development Bank (AFDB).
The MoT will launch a second study in 2015 focusing on high-performance rail.
The general objective of the study is to provide analyses and independent recommendations to help the MoT and the Tunisian National Railway Company (SNCFT) identify an upgrade programme for the rail network connecting the Algerian and Libyan borders, via Tunis, continued the MoT spokesperson.
Habib Ben Yahyia, secretary general of the Arab Maghreb Union, announced at the Maghreb Transport Council in December 2014 that an agreement for a $1.7m grant from the AFDB would be signed imminently. He indicated the loan was destined for studies on Tunisian sections of the Trans-Maghreb railway project, first suggested in 2010.
Transport ministers from Maghreb Union countries also signed a memorandum of understanding at the conference to cooperate on rail projects.
Algeria and Morocco have invested heavily in the rail sector in recent years, with Algeria executing about 1,200km of railway lines. Gauge and electrification challenges remain when it comes to connecting the national networks.
However, investment decisions will depend on Tunisias new government, currently being formed, and its budget and five-year plan.