Libyan transportation sector: 2 billion Libyan dinars to be spent on transport projects in Libya
By TK Maloy
TRIPOLI – Looking at Libya's infrastructure – its transportation, telecoms, broadband, electrical power and water sectors – the issue is not just fixing what might have been damaged during the rebellion, instead there is both an impetus to repair but also to build out an improved infrastructure as the country is reopening itself to foreign business and increased business and industrial activity domestically.
Speaking with Marcopolis, Addul Qader Mohammed Ahmed Sabah, Libya's Minister of Transportations noted, "Under this temporary government we have a budget of about two billion Libyan dinars for the three sectors (aviation, maritime and ground travel)."
"In the aviation sector we plan on building new airports and also rebuilding and maintaining the existing airports. In the maritime sector we are also going to have some new seaports, some of which have their tenders already published and we also have to rebuild the existing ones, which will encompass large projects. When it comes to the roads, we have a huge road network in Libya as we are such a vast country," explains Libyan Minister of Transportation.
"In the aviation sector we plan on building new airports and also rebuilding and maintaining the existing airports. In the maritime sector we are also going to have some new seaports, some of which have their tenders already published and we also have to rebuild the existing ones, which will encompass large projects. When it comes to the roads, we have a huge road network in Libya as we are such a vast country."
The transportation minister added, "We have a big project to connect the eastern border with Egypt to the western border with Tunisia. This road will cover a distance of over 2,000km and will be funded by the Italian government. Works will start very soon from the eastern side. "
He noted that there also was the necessity of maintaining the existing road network which entails about 3,000 kilometers of roadways.
The government is also reviewing at the cabinet level a large railway project to be undertaken by to foreign companies – Russian and Chinese respectively. The plans are still in the nascent stages.
"These projects include an integrated transport system within Tripoli that will join together the system of taxis, underground and city and inter-municipal buses." Sabah noted. "Such a huge project will need a large budget that is not available in 2013 but if we agree that other financial institutions, like banks, can finance or support such a project, we will probably see this up for tender soon."
Estimates for such large-scale expansion and improvement of the transportation sector are 50 billion Libyan dinars, according to the ministry.
The timetable that the government has set for such projects include: more than 10 years to complete the railway, while the Tripoli and Bengazi underground projects will take 12 years.
"Of course it will take time to see those projects up and running but the decisions will be made very soon," said the transportation minister.
The minister noted that foreign companies will play a large role in various transportation projects going for because of their knowledge base, capabilities and superiors technology.
"Some companies have already restarted their projects. Some of them are waiting to renegotiate their contract according to the new conditions. We have the ADPI, Aeroports de Paris that has started their project for the Tripoli International Airport. We also have a Canadian company called Lavalin that is going to build the new Benina International Airport in Benghazi," the minister said. "There are a lot of foreign companies working in Libya now. There is a Greek company contracted for the seaport in Tripoli, there is a German company, and so forth. Many foreign companies have already restarted their projects in Libya."
Regarding his personal vision and priorities, the minister said he would like to see the railway up and running and also the main three airports in Tripoli, Benghazi and Sabha established. He added that ministry is targeting 2014 for placement of the Tripoli and Benghazi projects in the budge.
"I am very optimistic for the railway projects that we already have started so we should soon see some trains moving, we have already started in the east and south of Libya" the minister added. "I believe the work will start slowly but it will be efficient and we will see most of the projects reactivated with the help of either national or international companies."