President Bashir attended a huge rally in Port Sudan at the end of April where he is on 2-day visit to the Red Sea State to open Atbara-Port Sudan highway.
The road was built with Chinese assistance to provide access to the construction of hydro-electric cables that will run from the large Merowe Dam project to the coast. Of course, it will reduce travel time from the coast to the Nile, and may change trucking patterns in the east. The only existing paved highway to Khartoum until now has been via Kassala.
From Port Sudan, to Khartoum, via Kassala: 630 miles [1000 km]
From Port Sudan, to Khartoum, via Atbara: 500 miles [800 km]