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ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Sept 17 , 2018(MENA) - Minister of Transport Hisham Arafat said Monday that the Egyptian economy is now all the more ready to interact with the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

He noted that there are several positive indicators in the Egyptian economy that encourage trade and attract investment and tourism movement to Egypt.

Egypt now stands on a firm ground and has the potentials and sturdiness that makes it more capable of opening up for partnerships within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.

The minister's remarks came on Monday while addressing a forum on reviving the ancient Silk Road through implementing the BRI and exploring investment opportunities between the Arab countries and China.

The forum is organised in the coastal city of Alexandria by the General Secretariat of the Arab League in co-operation with the Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT).

Egypt has achieved a lot in the past few years that helped it regain its stability, combat terrorism and activate and mobilise the ability of the state's institutions to contribute to rendering the national economic reform programme successful, Arafat said.

He said that the relationship between Egypt and China witnessed an unprecedented strategic development within the past few years which positively reflected on the trade and investment sectors, noting that trade exchange rose 24 per cent on an annual basis in the first seven months of 2018 to hit $7.5 billion.

Chinese exports to Egypt reached $6.5 billion while Egyptian exports to China reached $1 billion with a 60% increase from 2016, he said.

Arafat said that he is looking forward to standing, during the forum, on the vision of the Chinese participants and the regional partners in the BRI regarding plans to establish the Belt and Road. 

CAIRO, Sept 17 ,2018 (MENA) – Cairo Police forces launched campaigns to enforce a ban on heavy trucks from traveling on the Cairo Ring Road during specific hours.

Truck drivers are allowed to use a regional highway outside Cairo instead of the ring road.

The heavy truck ban on the Cairo Ring Road started Saturday. It is enforced between 6am and 12am, and will affect trucks with loads of more than four tonnes of cargo.

The heavy trucks can use the country's massive regional road as an alternative to the ring road. The regional road connects several major districts of the city, and is a key route for commuter traffic.

Security sources said check points are deployed for detection of drug users among drivers to curb road accidents, protect the lives of citizens as well as drivers and attain smooth traffic flow.

CAIRO, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - Egyptian Cabinet Information Center on Friday denied reports that the railways sector will be privatized.

In a report, the center indicated that it contacted the Ministry of Transport which denied the reports asserting that the service will not be privatized and that it is owned by the State and will remain so.

The private sector's role in this regard is only restricted to contributing to the development and upgrading process of the service, added the ministry.

All reports on this score are groundless, the ministry confirmed.

By Ramadan A. Kader

A local newspaper last week ran a cartoon showing a Metro clerk asking a passenger if he wants a ticket to “ride the subway, or to commit suicide”! In recent months, there has been an alarming rise in the numbers of people reportedly attempting suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains just as they stop at the stations.

Last week, a girl was intercepted while trying to take her own life in the same way at the Metro station of Ezbet el-Nakhl on the Cairo suburbs. The cause of her suicide attempt was not made public.

Built in the early 1980s, the Metro system stands out as the Egyptian capital's main means of public transport, scooping an estimated four million on a daily basis off Cairo’s often-traffic-clogged streets. The service has extended over the years to criss-cross Cairo’s suburbs and link them to the neighbouring governorates of Giza and Qaliubia. New stretches are being built.

Therefore, the Metro operator could not hide their concerns about the suicide cases. An official at the company in charge of the service was quoted this week as saying that emergency and monitor teams have been deployed along the Metro platforms as a precautionary measure to spot and restrain suicidal passengers.

The mission is not easy, though. “We will not be able to prevent all suicide attempts because the three lines of the Metro receive four million passengers every day and it is difficult for us to monitor all travellers,” the unnamed official added.

On average, a suicide incident grinds three Metro journeys to a halt, according to the company. “The Metro is not a hub for committing suicide,” spokesman for the company Ahmed Abdul Hadi said.

“The company incurs heavy losses in the aftermath of each suicide incident. The Metro is one of the most vital public transport utilities across the republic as millions depend on it in their movements,” Abdul Hadi added.

“Therefore, it should not be a destination for psychologically-troubled persons and those wishing to commit suicide so as not to make life difficult for millions.”

In May, the government hiked fares of the Metro by up to 120 per cent, depending on the number of journeys, with the announced aim of upgrading the service.

Transport Minister Hesham Arafat has expressed worry over the rise in suicide incidents, which he still termed as isolated.

“Most suicide cases are the result of social problems. The Metro has nothing to do with them,” the minister said this week.Specialists say that those attempting suicide on the Metro tracks are at pains to drive a message home.

“They want to send a quick signal to the world that they committed suicide in public in order to cause confusion and induce some people with a sense of guilt,” psychological medicine consult Ibrahim Magdy said.

“The person, who commits suicide in front of the Metro, has already decided on suicide,” Magdy told private television Al Nahar.

“Some could take their own lives due to life pressure.” He proposed setting up booths at the subway stations for people with suicidal attitude to vent their bottled-up feelings.

The Metro operator is considering installing automatic glass barriers on the platforms, according to an official.

"When the train arrives at the station, the barriers will automatically open," the official told private newspaper Al-Watan. "But this proposal is hard to implement at present because it is very costly," the unnamed official added.

CAIRO, Sept 6 , 2018 (MENA) – The Transport Ministry has announced the establishment of a joint-stock company for the management of multi-purpose stations as per the new investment law no.72 of 2017 and its regulations and the companies law no. 159 of 1981 and its regulations.

The Alexandrian-based company is tasked with constructing and running multi-purpose stations to handle containers and general cargo in eight docks at Alexandria port, Transport Minister Hesham Arafat said in a statement on Thursday.

The company's authorised capital stands at LE 500 million and is divided among the Alexandria Port Authority (34%), the Suez Canal Authority (33%) and the Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport (33%), he added.

Alexandria Port Authority will have the right to run the company, he noted.

For his part, Chairman of Alexandria Port Authority Medhat Attia said that preparations are under way to put forward the project of multi-purpose stations to experienced global consulting firms to prepare the tender specifications for selecting the project's consultant, the contractor and the station operator. 

Each 560,000-square-meter station has a capacity of 15 to 18 million tonnes. And, it can simultaneously receive six ships.

CAIRO, Aug 20, 2018 (MENA) - Transport Minister Hisham Arafat asserted that the Regional Ring Road will save LE 800 million annually for the State budget as it reduces the amount of fuel used in transferring cargo.

In an interview with MENA , Arafat said that the project will be inaugurated soon, adding that it will connect all the main highways in Egypt and help in easing traffic congestion in Cairo.

He further underscored that his ministry implemented 50% of the National Roads Project which will be finalised in two years.

Arafat said that the ministry constructs axes on the Nile River in the Upper Egyptian governorates within the framework of a strategy to control encroachments on agricultural lands in fulfilment of directives by  President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

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