Focus on rail networks at Dubai event
Dubai, August 27, 2007
Regional and international leaders are set to discuss ways to integrate rail networks at a conference in Dubai in October.
They will also review the latest industry trends and provide fresh intelligence on the subject during the Meed’s 4th Middle East Rail Projects Conference 2007, which will take place at the Park Hyatt, Dubai, on October 30-31.
In the past three years the Mena region has experienced an unprecedented rail boom with over $30 billion being invested, as rapid population growth and increasing road-traffic congestion have encouraged governments to take a serious look at light and mass transportation, a statement said.
In the last 12 months alone, construction on the Dubai Light Rail project – also known as the Dubai Metro – has gathered pace, tenders for the Saudi Landbridge project have been issued and awards have been made on the multi-billion-dollar minerals railway, also in the kingdom, it said.
"Funding is key. Finding a reliable source of finance has always been the main challenge in the development of rail projects, not just to cover the capital construction cost but also for the day-to-day running of the systems. Rising oil and gas prices mean that governments now have the liquidity to finance these huge infrastructure projects,” said MEED events chairman Edmund O’Sullivan.
“Having this stream of finance in place, combined with an unprecedented willingness to invest in rail-based transport systems, heralds a new era for rail in the region.
“At Middle East Rail Projects 2007 we will look at the big picture of how best to develop an integrated process in regional rail systems, and allow our international delegates and speakers to meet one another face-to-face to forge new and effective working relationships.”
The event, sponsored by the leading international legal practice Herbert Smith, and now in its fourth successful year, will feature keynote speakers including Arab Union of Railways director-general Engineer Mourhaf Sabhouni, providing a comprehensive overview of existing and planned railways in the Middle East; GCC secretariat-general transport director Sultan Al Ghanim, who will provide a status report on the region’s most ambitious rail project, the planned GCC Railway; and Abdulredha Dubai road and transport director of planning Abu Al-Hassan on the Dubai Metro project. – TradeArabia News Service