Muscat: A sizable investment of $642 billion is being planned for developing railway infrastructure in the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia. This investment is mainly for developing freight and urban transport infrastructure, according to Terrapinn Middle East, organiser of Middle East Rail, which will be held from March 7 and 8 in Dubai.
“Within the next 10 years, we will see a complete reform of mobility across emerging markets,” said Jamie Hosie, Event Director of Middle East Rail 2017, the biggest and most established transport and logistics event in the region. “Congested urban roads, increasing populations and the need for seamless trade corridors continue to drive immense investment in the railway sector – and with the effects of low oil prices subsiding, new projects, extensions, upgrades and improvements are back on track.”
According to a report produced by Terrapinn Middle East in collaboration with leading construction projects tracker Ventures ONSITE, the value of total GCC rail projects in pipeline stands at over $240 billion, with $69 billion worth of projects currently under construction. In terms of overall expenditure on rail, Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the UAE remain atop all of the GCC. As of January 2017, Saudi Arabia had registered the highest rail construction project value of 50 per cent, followed by the UAE (18 per cent) and Qatar (17 per cent).
Key projects expected to be awarded to contractors in Saudi market in 2017 are Zulfi - Al Majmaah Passenger Railway, North South Rail - Waad Al Shimal - Turaif - Al Jouf (ST320), Makkah Mass Rail Transit (MMRT) - Makkah Metro.
The planned investments of $30 billion in UAE’s railway networks include that in Abu Dhabi Metro and Light Rail, skyTranYas Island, the next stages of the Etihad Rail national network, the Dubai Metro extension for Expo 2020 and the new stages of the Al-Sufouh Tram.
For the eleventh edition of Middle East Rail, the organising committee has extended its project focus to new markets, including Central Asia and Indian Subcontinent, in addition to Mena region.