Thursday 19 October 2017
 
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1600-km RAILROAD PROJECT

Saudi Arabia to float tenders for Red Sea-Gulf railway

RIYADH, September 18, 2017

Saudi Arabia plans to seek bidders for the construction of a 1,600-km-long railroad linking the Red Sea with the Arabian Gulf as early as the end of this year, signalling the go-ahead for a long-delayed project seen as vital to reducing the economy’s dependence on oil.

The so-called Land Bridge line will shave around three days off the current five-day journey time for shipping seaborne freight around the Saudi coast, while improving links to Riyadh, and Jeddah, the nation’s two biggest cities, reported Bloomberg, citing a top official.

Tenders will be issued at the end of this year or early in 2018 following an encouraging response to an invitation for expressions of interest, revealed Saudi Railway Company chief executive Bashar Al Malik.

Saudi Arabia first awarded contracts for a privately funded coast-to-coast line in 2008 in an effort to accelerate the transit of goods around a country a fifth the size of the US, but put the project on hold after financial terms couldn’t be agreed, stated Al Malik.

It’s now “moving ahead to implement the project” after an encouraging response from the private sector, he added.

On the total project investment, Al Malik said: "The cost of the Land Bridge line will depend on the exact route chosen and the location of the Red Sea terminus, with bidding for contracts likely to include local and international engineering companies and financial institutions."

Saudi Arabia has allocated SR52 billion ($14 billion) for infrastructure and transportation this year, up from SR38 billion ($10 billion) in 2016, said the Bloomberg report.




Tags: Saudi Arabia | tenders | railroad project |

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