Sudan Transportation System

Transportation system is a backbone of economic development, the following data illustrates Sudan transportation and its impact on economy and business. Investors can contribute to invest in this key production factor “Transportation”
The road network of Sudan almost doubled in length, reaching 6,200 kilometres all of which was rolled out between 2000 and 2008. Nonetheless, much of the country still lacks roads. The huge expansion of the road network in Sudan is characterized by poor construction and lack of proper maintenance.
This lack of adequate roads negatively affects the production of agricultural and animal products, which are located in rural areas, as it impedes its access to both local and foreign markets, making it less competitive in regional markets by adding excessive transport costs.
The country is, however, connected by asphalted roads to three of its important neighbours, namely Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia and to the borders of South Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic.
The railway system in Sudan is extensive, with about 4757 Kilometers of railroads across the country, to all major towns and cities. Sudan railways built by the invading British troops in late 19th century played a role in nation building and providing infrastructure for agriculture, trade, and industry until the mid-1970s. Since then, the railways have begun to deteriorate for lack of maintenance and renovation. It is currently operating at about one-fifth of its capacity. In 2016 Sudan railways transported 850 thousand metric ton of goods.
Many attempts to maintain and improve the railway network and its capacity were hindered by political instability and lack of funding, as well as suffering from political interference to curb the power of the strong railway trade unions. The railways were neglected by the government, which preferred to invest in less expensive land highways. In 2015, the railways are reported to have 60 locomotives in service, but they have a maximum speed of only 40 km per hour because of the poor state of the tracks.
The first serious step to modernize Sudan railways was made in 2014, with the help of China. The modern Chinese made Nile Train between Atbara and Khartoum is becoming very popular even though it take much longer than buses to make the trip because it is cheaper and safer.
Sudan government officials have also repeatedly talked about a project to build a railroad from Port Sudan on the Red Sea across the country the western neighbor Chad  and later to Cameron for the cost of 2 billion dollars. China is again the suggested partner for this big project.
In 2015, President al Bashar, during his electoral campaign visited so-called ‘railway city’ Atbara, saying he was committed to expand the current railroad network.
River Transport
The Nile – consisting of the White Nile and the Blue Nile, provides an important inland transportation route and has played an important role historically. Its usefulness is, however, limited by several cataracts in the main Nile, between Khartoum and northern Sudan. The White Nile, south of Khartoum, has shallow stretches that prevent the passage of large barges. The Blue Nile is not very suitable for river transport and has two dams that make it less appropriate for river transport.
River Transport historically played a vital role in connecting North and South Sudan. That was hindered by the civil war of 1983-2005 and the Independence of the South. Recently President Bashir announced reopening of river transport to the South as a part of reconciliatory gesture towards the republic of South Sudan.
Sea Ports
Sudan has three operational deep-water ports, Port Sudan, Sawakin, and the Marsa Bashayer oil export terminal. Sawakin was the oldest operating at least since the 11th century. The colonial administration of Sudan built Port Sudan harbour in 1906, because Sawakin – located only 45 km away – proved inefficient and too small for the new large ships of the 20th Century. In 2014,Port Sudan handled 1,539,034 metric tons of exports and 6,002,652 metric tons of imports.
A national shipping company, Sudan Shipping Line (SSL), was established in 1962, as a joint venture with the Yugoslavian Foreign Trade Bank with two Yugoslav-built cargo vessels. In 1967, Sudan government bought the Yugoslavian share. The Sudan Shipping Line grew to ten ships, totalling more than 122,200 deadweight tons in 1990. After reaching a peak of fifteen ships in 1980 during the mid-1980s, SSL started to sell its fleet one by one because of financial difficulties. SSL no longer owns any operational ships now and its managers recently denied press reports that the government is considering a plan to privatize the company, vowing that the company will soon revive and buy new ships.

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