Citadel unit to launch container service on Suez
Cairo, February 2, 2014
The National Company for Multimodal Transport (NMT), a unit of top investment company Citadel Capital, has announced plans to start a new container transshipment service between Port Said Port and Sharq Al-Tafrea on the Suez Canal.
NMT is an Egyptian holding company under Nile Logistics, Citadel Capital’s platform for investment in the river transportation sector.
Citadel Capital said NMT has begun to transport containers via river barges between the Port Said and the Suez Canal container terminal / SharqAl-Tafrea, including a naval service bay at the Suez Canal.
A successful trial carried out by NMT has proven that inland barges can transship containers between both port terminals in less than one hour compared to a minimum of 4-6 hours on average by truck convoys, said the company in a statement.
The new container transshipment service is the result of close co-operation between Citadel Capital, the Suez Canal Authority, and various government bodies at the Ministry of Transport to capitalize on the untapped potential of environmentally friendly, fuel-efficient river transport solutions across the region, it stated.
“This project came as a result of close cooperation between the Suez Canal Authority, the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety, the Suez Canal Container Terminal and Port Said Container Terminal, among others,” remarked NMT chairman General Maged Farrag.
Extensive studies carried out in collaboration with the SCA and the Port Authorities concluded that the project will be beneficial on multiple fronts for all parties involved.
In addition to eliminating the need to use ferries to cross the Suez Canal, the project will have a six-fold multiplier effect on fuel efficiency against land trucking. It will also ease road congestion and reduce carbon emissions to enhance the overall environmental footprint of the area, stated Farrag.
Citadel Capital managing director Karim Sadek said NMT has a notable ability to generate sustainable returns despite the current fuel subsidy program, which favours less fuel-efficient modes of transport such as trucking.
"It is also more efficient for clients as containers were often re-routed to other Mediterranean countries before they reached their destinations at other Egyptian seaports," he pointed out.
“After the successful conclusion of the trial service, we expect NMT to start commercial operations in two weeks,” Sadek noted.
“In addition to reducing fuel consumption, easing road congestion and reducing accident rates, the transshipment service will create new employment opportunities for the residents of the Suez Canal region,” remarked managing director Ahmed El Sharkawy.
The launch of NMT’s inland service will also help draw investment to the Suez Canal corridor region while simultaneously growing shipping and container activity at Port Said Terminal, thus generating revenue for the Port Authorities involved.
Citadel Capital has effective ownership stake of 37.9 per cent in NMT, a subsidiary of Nile Logistics. Transportation is one of five core industries in which the Egyptian firm invests alongside energy, agrifoods, mining and cement.-TradeArabia News Service