Chinese company Batou, specialized in assembling train cars and locomotives, intends to set up a production unit in Tunisia, which will be used to export products in Africa, its representative in Tunisia, Habib Laouini, told a press conference. The press conference was organized to mark the arrival of 60 train cars from China, built to transport cereals in Tunisia. Laouini added that the Chinese firm presented a request in June to Tunisian authorities to create the unit.
The project, he said, is part of a public-private partnership that provides for the use of laboratories of the National Tunisian railway company (Snctf) for the training of its managers and personnel.
The project consists in the creation of a unit for industrialization and the export of locomotives to Africa through markets which the Chinese company Batou will be able to conquer. Laouini also noted that the Chinese company on March 28 this year presented a request for an innovative project of Tunisia’s railway network, adding that negotiations are ongoing with the affected parties and that funding will be provided by the Chinese side.
As far as the 60 cars that arrived from China, the premier’s advisor who is in charge of public works, Ridha Saidi, said that they will be used to transport wheat on the Tunis-Biserta and Tunis-Ghardimaou lines and that they were made ”according to international rules with a capacity of 50 tons.
The operation to buy them was made through an international tender launched by Snctf at the price of 12 million dinars, with the objective of improving the condition of cereal transport and preserving quality”. Saidi stressed the importance of boosting economic and commercial cooperation between Tunisia and China, adding that many Chinese companies expressed the intention of carrying out infrastructural projects in Tunisia, including the bridge of Bizerte and a port in Enfidha.
Other Chinese companies in the domestic appliances sector have expressed the intention of opening units in Tunisia to conquer African markets south of the Tunisian Sahara. The signature of a memorandum of agreement through which Tunisia became a member of the ”Silk Road” initiative will have a positive impact on economic development and attract Chinese investors to Tunisia, said the Tunisian government advisor.