$240 bn worth of rail projects in pipeline in the GCC

By Business Reporter — MUSCAT: FEB 5 – The Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and South Asia hold the largest selection of freight and urban transport projects across the globe, with over $642 billion worth of planned railway investments, 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, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the UAE remain atop all of the GCC. As of January 2017, KSA 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 KSA 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 bn in UAE’s railway networks include that in Abu Dhabi Metro and Light Rail, skyTran Yas 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 11th 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. Over 350 world-class construction and engineering companies, contractors and solution providers, E2E’s and international operators, and rail experts will participate to offer their services and play their part in the systems of the future.
“Operators are looking to source new technologies, educate their staff on best practices and find the perfect partners for 2017. There are a number of obstacles facing new rail projects apart from project finance, such as operational structures, technological expertise and political dynamics of cross-border networks. We have tailored a programme aligned with the growing needs of the industry, providing an unrivalled platform for key players to come together to learn, network and discover new opportunities,” added Jamie.
Features this year will include the Demo Zone, where new and exciting products are exhibited; SME Zone, where visitors can meet the very best local companies looking to enter the market; Career Zone, for students looking to potentially work within the rail industry; and Country pavilions.