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Nile Traffic Seen Exploding as Egypt Cuts Fuel Subsidy: Freight

Egypt’s planned reduction of fuel subsidies to tackle the Middle East’s biggest budget deficit is sending more barges down the Nile, one of the world’s oldest trade arteries.

The share of cargo moved through the Nile was only 0.5 percent of Egyptian traffic in 2010, an Egyptian-Japanese study shows, as diesel costing less than half what it does in the U.S. tips the balance toward trucks and railroads. This advantage will erode once President Mohamed Mursi starts cutting subsidies to narrow a budget gap that’s 11 percent of economic output, according to Beltone Financial Holding, a Cairo investment bank.