14 October 2015

Transcontinental Shipping Route Via Nile River?

In 2013 the idea of expanding the shipping capacity of the Nile River to allow for goods to travel from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea, and European markets, was proposed. Egypt is indeed exploring the idea, despite the logistical challenges of infrastructure that is outdated and outmoded, like the Aswan Dam. If this route was possible to implement there are certainly other challenges. Ongoing conflict, political instability, and poverty still wrack the countries along the route of the White Nile. However, the idea that Egypt is exploring the concept is a shift in mentality across the Nile countries - a shift that has been presenting itself consistently in recent years. This shift is an openness to trade agreement possibilities across the Nile basin countries - a reality of official and prolific regional trading that is uncommon across the African continent.

The Nile River, as a resource, is used by basin countries as a drinking water resource, for agriculture, to generate electricity, for cultural & religious purposes, for historic and national identity, and for transportation. Amazing how one resource can contain such diverse uses - and amazing how such a central and important resource still lacks an overall development and management plan.

Egypt Eyes Nile River Expansion

Nile River

By MarEx  2015-10-02 13:09:43 
On the heels of its Suez Canal expansion, Egypt has signed a grant agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) to explore the feasibility of creating a cross-continent shipping line which would expand the Nile River and connect the Mediterranean Sea to Lake Victoria.
The $650,000 grant will be paid by the Korea-Africa Economic Trust Fund, an AfBD entity, and finance the first phase of the required initial feasibility studies for the establishment of the cross-continent shipping line.
The project aims to convert the Nile River into a sustainable transport line and link Nile Basin countries such as Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, Sudan, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.  
If successful, the project could increase encourage trade and increase economic collaboration between the Nile Basin’s countries.
The project was initially agreed to by heads of state at the January 2013 African Summit.
But while the Nile Basin’s nations feel bullish about the project’s potential, it has sparked debate and criticism. According to a Alexandria University study, the proposed shipping line may not only be difficult to complete, but impossible.
The study contends that there are several engineering issues that must be overcome to make the shipping lane a reality. The Nile is dotted with dams, bridges and waterfalls which could cause difficulty in constructing the cross-continent line.
The Aswan reservoir poses an additional problem. Its five lock chambers have a water height differential of about 98 feet. While the lock could potentially facilitate river transportation, it has not been used or renovated since 1961. In addition, the Aswan Dam creates another obstacle as its water differentials range between 350 and 600 feet and would require massive renovation as well.
AfDB is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries. The AfDB was founded in 1964 and comprises three entities: The African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund.


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