Oil prices impacting GCC rail sector
Low oil prices and wider economic uncertainty are having an impact on rail infrastructure development across the region, according to Steve Cockerell, industry marketing director, Road and Rail, Bentley Systems.
“The picture changed earlier this year when it was widely reported that a number of projects, for example the second stage of Etihad Rail, and Oman's plans to build a railway to connect with its neighbouring Gulf states, were put on hold,” he said.
As recently as 29 September, H.E. Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al-Nuaimi, minister of Infrastructure Development and chairman of the Federal Transport Authority - Land and Maritime, indicated that the deadline for the GCC Rail network had been moved back to 2021.
Cockrell did not have official timelines or completion dates for projects, but said it would appear that projects are "proceeding more slowly as governments focus on controlling capital spending."
Despite the apparent slowdown he said he thought “things were still moving”. In Saudi Arabia, the government remains dedicated to completing projects.
Bentley Systems provides design and engineering collaboration software to a number of consultants and contractors working on rail projects across the region.