Construction Equipment Africa

High uptime of Volvo machines integral to Egypt’s ‘Toshka’ irrigation megaproject

Many contractors engaged in Egypt's agricultural gamechanger ‘Toshka Project’ are relying on dependable, efficient Volvo machines provided by GB Auto. These machines are built for high uptime and are contributing to the timely and cost-effective completion of earthwork excavations on the irrigation megaproject.

In Egypt, Volvo excavators and articulated haulers are contributing to the creation of a vast canal network for a modern irrigation system.

In south Egypt, deep in the desert, massive amounts of excavation are taking place with the contribution of machinery from Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) to create high-pressure canals and basins stemming from a key section of the Nile River. Redirecting a significant share of the country’s allotted water supply from the Nile, the canals will develop and extend agricultural projects to provide much-needed crop irrigation.

Known as the ‘Toshka Project’, this megaproject is located to the west of the major Egyptian cities of Aswan and Abu Simbel and the vast reservoir of Lake Nasser across the Nile. As one of the largest man-made lakes in the world with a surface area of 2,030 m2 (5,250 km2), Lake Nasser is an ample resource to supply the modern irrigation system setup in the desert, which consists of centre pivot – or waterwheel and circle – crop irrigation.

Toshka is a multi-phase project aiming to add 600,000 acres to the current agricultural patch of Egypt, which will expand into a million acres in the near future. It involves the construction of a 50 km main transfer canal and four additional 18-26 km long side branches to transport water from Lake Nasser to the Toshka Depression.

Here, desert is transformed into agricultural land, with the water supply fuelling centre pivot irrigation systems. As the world’s largest wheat importer, Egypt annually relies on importing 50% of its needs of wheat from abroad. The Toshka Project increases Egypt’s harvest and secures an independent cultural cycle of wheat, lessening the necessity for importation from other countries, with a national target of production predicted to secure around 70% of Egypt’s needs by 2030 considering annual population growth.

Hundreds of Volvo machines are assisting on the Toshka Project supplied through GB Auto, which has been the exclusive Volvo CE dealer in Egypt since 1999. Around 30 contractors operate on different sections of the Toshka Project, with Volvo excavators and articulated haulers removing and transporting huge amounts of earthworks to create the artificial waterways.

GB Auto has been providing contractors in Egypt with Volvo machines for a quarter of a century.

Challenging environments suit Volvo CE

GB Auto and Volvo CE’s prominence on the Toshka Project is due in part to the success of the articulated haulers on the Suez Canal expansion. This megaproject, developed in Egypt in 2014 and 2015, has heavily contributed to the global trade and logistics industry by dramatically shortening transit times of ships and cargo vessels passing through.

“The Suez Canal Corridor Area Project required safe earthworks solutions across huge sites, and so we suggested the Volvo articulated hauler concept to our customers,” explains Amre Sheta, vice-president of construction equipment sales at GB Auto. “The results of the Suez Canal expansion project were able to be demonstrated to contractors for Toshka when it came to equipment selection and encouraged them to place their trust in us and Volvo as a solid success partner.”

In Egypt, increasing temperatures and heightened droughts resulting from climate change, plus the restriction of importation through the impact of global conflicts have generated a need for irrigated cropland. The Toshka Project, conceived in the 1990s and formally resumed in 2016, will now implement a regular wheat harvest cycle in the country from October to April, with additional crops grown out of season. Wheat is extremely important to Egyptian civilisation. It is a country of 110 million people where the word for bread – ‘eish’ – means ‘life’. Egypt produces between 250 to 275 million loaves daily, with government officials estimating that citizens consume almost 100 billion every year.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege for Volvo to play a vital role along with GB Auto in the Toshka Project, contributing our expertise and innovative solutions to help shape a sustainable and transformative future for Egypt,” says Michael Moulaert, commercial manager for Egypt at Volvo CE.

Volvo excavators and articulated haulers secure the scope of work for this type of megaproject. Achieving peak performance with minimal fuel consumption, the EC300D crawler excavator, for example, excels in the tough conditions of the Toshka Project. The machine's engine boasts heightened horsepower and fuel efficiency, complemented by its electro-hydraulic system, ensuring superb control and faster cycle times. Operators using the EC480D crawler excavator, meanwhile, experience enhanced digging forces, shorter cycle times, and improved hydraulics.

Tailored for demanding off-road tasks in heavy-hauling scenarios, the Volvo A45G articulated hauler delivers consistent productivity and reliability. The A45G minimises maintenance needs, extends service intervals, and facilitates easy access to service points, collectively increasing uptime, reducing maintenance expenses, and minimising total cost of ownership and operation (TCO). Engineered for optimal efficiency, the Volvo A45G aims to achieve maximum productivity while minimising the cost per ton.

Intrinsic to Volvo CE product design is a commitment to safety, with an aim to consistently decrease the risk of accidents and fostering safer job sites for everyone involved. Volvo CE continues to innovate in this space, getting the job done with much higher safety precautions. Top of Form

The A45G articulated hauler from Volvo is designed for heavy hauling in challenging off-road operations to offer continuous productivity.

Keeping downtime to a minimum

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The remoteness of the Toshka Project, the difficulties of the terrain, and tight deadlines means heavy-duty performance and high uptime are essential for contractors and their Volvo machines. Obstacles of rocky topography, rich in materials, mean demanding excavation work. At a certain section, 9 km of rigid barrier was removed in order to secure the waterflow.

“Our Volvo CE customers involved in the Toshka Project need the highest uptime with the highest capacity of performance,” says Amre. “When you’re working in the middle of the desert, fuel and oil consumption, together with supply and availability of spare parts, become even more vital.”

Providing a solid foundation of aftersales with a high service team response rate, GB Auto opened a dedicated service centre in the closer urban area of Aswan, a two-hour drive from the Toshka site vicinity. It is from here, instead of 750 km away from the country’s capital Cairo, that GB Auto can closely liaise with contractors to supply spare parts and technical support efficiently, when and where needed.

With rising fuel costs being an even greater factor in this type of environment, the key to fuel efficiency lies in achieving the optimal ratio of tonnes per litre – maximising productivity while minimising fuel consumption. Volvo CE offers a robust Fuel Efficiency Guarantee for its excavators, articulated haulers, and wheel loaders, with the money-saving fuel efficiency of these machines underscoring a commitment to customers’ low TCO and promoting higher productivity.

The objective of the Toshka Project to ultimately use the resources of the Nile River to minimise the importation of wheat is another chapter in Egypt’s economic recovery pathway, which has focused on improving infrastructure, including road and rail networks, and agricultural developments. The longest river in the world remains an invaluable source of life for Egyptians as it was for their ancient ancestors, now thanks in part to the contribution of GB Auto and Volvo CE.


Anne Bast

Head of Brand, Marketing & Communication
Volvo Construction Equipment
Sales Region Europe / International
Phone: +46 735 585 906