Egypt - Amr El-Samadouni, Secretary-General of the International Transportation and Logistics Services Division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, has called for closer integration with the Belt and Road Initiative.

He emphasized that the Suez Canal and its economic zone should serve as a hub for manufacturing, logistics, and value-added businesses.

El-Samadouni stated: “Egypt occupies a central position in the Belt and Road Initiative, which revitalizes the ancient Silk Road. The Suez Canal, a vital artery connecting the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, serves as a convergence point for global trade routes.”

He highlighted that the initiative fosters cooperation in economic projects, investment, and infrastructure development. These initiatives promote integrated growth and create additional job opportunities. Egypt’s economic situation is expected to benefit significantly from the strong link between China’s trade expansion and the increased volume of goods passing through the Suez Canal. Chinese trade volume grew from 500 million tonnes in 2,000 to 3,400 million tonnes in 2022.

El-Samadouni also pointed out that the rise in Chinese trade volume coincided with an increase in goods passing through the Suez Canal, from 450 million tonnes to 1,500 million tonnes during the same period. This increase is attributed to the Suez Canal’s 47% reduction in distance compared to the Cape of Good Hope route.

It’s noteworthy that efforts to revive the ancient Silk Road began in the early 1990s. China successfully established a land bridge with European countries, exemplified by the Chinese freight train reaching England in 2017 after traversing several nations. Since 2013, China has pursued this long-term initiative, extending until 2049.

El-Samadouni further elaborated that Egyptian-Chinese relations have witnessed significant development in recent years. The Belt and Road Initiative has bolstered the Egyptian economy by supporting infrastructure development and financing large-scale projects such as the New Administrative Capital and the Suez Canal Economic Zone. Chinese investments span various sectors, including renewable energy, manufacturing, and transportation.

He disclosed that Houthi attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea, particularly those connected to Israel, prompted some companies to reroute their vessels away from the Suez Canal and the strategic Bab al-Mandeb Strait. Despite this, El-Samadouni remains optimistic, expecting stability to return and the Suez Canal’s revenue to rebound to previous levels.

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