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The Tunisian National Railway Company has received 60 Chinese-made rail cars dedicated to transporting cereals. These wagons will be used to transport grain in two rail freight services, one to connect Tunis with Bizerte (north) and another to link Tunis and Ghardimaou (northwest). The equipment has been made by the Chinese company Baotou Beifang Chuangye, specialising in freight vehicles and components.
The advisor of the Tunisian Prime Minister, Ridha Saidi, noted that this acquisition is a first step to increase the economic relationships with China. He added that Tunisia would sign up to the Belt and Road Initiative.
China launched this initiative in 2013 inside the mega-project called as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, whose main objective is building an infrastructure connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, following the example of the old routes inside the Silk Trade.
Tunisia is trying to recover the political stability after a long transition period after the Arab Spring (2010-2013), whose pro-democracy demonstrations started, precisely, in Tunisia, considered as a laboratory for economic and political reforms in Islamic countries.
Tunisia has a very competitive agriculture, the development of an efficient rail freight network being essential to strength this trend and exports to Algeria and Egypt. Its government has bet strongly in taking part in the project of developing a rail track, which connects Morocco with Egypt, crossing Algeria, Tunisia and Libya to favour a North African economic integration process.
This article first appeared on www.railfreight.com
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