“Suez Canal on Rails” – A New Era for Passenger and Freight Transport in Egypt

November 8, 2022 – 4:40 pm

DB International Operations, part of the DB E.C.O. Group, has been awarded a billion euro contract for the operation and maintenance of the first high-speed rail network in Egypt. The “Suez Canal on Rails” will link the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, heralding a new era in passenger and freight rail transport in Egypt.

Suez Canal on rails: signing ceremony in Sharm el-Sheikh
f.l.t.r.: Niko Warbanoff (CEO DB E.C.O. Group), Frank Hartmann (German Ambassador), Mustafa Madbuli (Prime Minister), Kamel al-Wazir (Minister of Transport), General Sherif Hassan Lail (Chairman NAT), Ahmed Elsewedy (President and CEO Elsewedy Electric)


DB E.C.O. Group

DB E.C.O. Group
10829 Berlin

More information

DB International Operations (DB IO) has been entrusted with the operation and maintenance of a new railroad and high-speed rail system in Egypt following the signing of the relevant contracts on November 8, 2022. The ceremony took place as part of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh. Prime Minister Mustafa Madbuli, Minister of Transport Kamel al-Wazir, the German Ambassador Frank Hartmann, and representatives of the local project partner Elsewedy Electric (one of Egypt’s largest infrastructure companies) and the DB E.C.O. Group were in attendance.

Suez canal on rails: the new lines will connect the Mediterranean and the Red Sea
The project will connect the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and covers a distance of 2,000 km with three lines and about 60 stations.
Suez Canal on rails: DB International Operations´ team on location in Egypt
DB International Operations colleagues on site f.l.t.r: Nadim Hassoun, Niko Warbanoff, Janna Piorr, Dieter Michell-Auli, Elena Pramesberger and Andreas Wegerif.

A new era for Egyptian rail transport

Dubbed the “Suez Canal on Rails,” the planned project will link the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, ushering in a new era in rail transportation in the region. It will cover a distance of 2,000 km with three lines and roughly 60 stations, transporting passengers and freight at speeds of up to 230 km/h and 120 km/h respectively.

In total, the Egyptian state is investing over 12 billion euros in the project. Concluded for an initial period of 15 years, the operating contract awarded to DB IO concerns line 1: the 660-km-long line, otherwise known as the “Green Line”, running from Mersa Matruh on the Mediterranean Sea to Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea via Cairo and Egypt’s new administrative and government headquarters in the “New Administrative Capital”, which is currently under construction.

In addition to the country’s metropolitan areas, suburbs and smaller communities will also benefit from connections to the rail network and the resulting increase in social mobility in the country. Small and family-owned businesses will be able to benefit from new business opportunities and improved access to jobs, health care, and education. The new rail system will also help make freight transport between the ports and the interior of the country more sustainable and efficient.

German rail expertise is a hot commodity around the world

Following on from major contracts in Canada and India, the project in Egypt, valued in the single-digit billion range, is the third major international operator project for DB IO in 2022.

Together with project partner Elsewedy Electric, DB IO will be responsible for operating infrastructure and rolling stock for high-speed, regional, and freight services along with maintaining the stations and workshops on the “Green Line”. In mid-2022, Siemens was awarded a contract in a consortium to build the rail infrastructure and supply trains, offering a wide range of opportunities for technological cooperation to develop new design and operational approaches.

Suez Canal on rails: Chaos in regional and local transport in the Egyptian metropolis of Cairo
Traffic in Egypt´s capital Cairo

High impact on society and the environment

Egypt is a rapidly growing country. By 2050, its population is expected to increase from approx. 105 million to 160 million inhabitants. The new, high-capacity rail system, scheduled to begin operations in 2025, will be the central pillar in the sustainable expansion of Egypt’s public transportation infrastructure, serving as a regional flagship project for a modal shift in passenger and freight traffic.

In addition to saving at least 50% travel time for approx. 30 million inhabitants with the “Green Line” alone, the project will simultaneously make an important contribution to traffic safety and climate protection. The use of renewable energy compared to bus, car and non-electrified rail transport aims to reduce carbon emissions by 70%.

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