North-South Railway ready for freight by 2010

New Saudi rail links offer opportunities for freight forwarders operating in the Kingdom.
The east-west freight route will allow containers to transit from the Gulf to the Red Sea in 24 hours. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.
The east-west freight route will allow containers to transit from the Gulf to the Red Sea in 24 hours. Courtesy of AFP/Getty.

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The 2400-kilometre North-South Railway has been prioritised by the Saudi government due to its vital importance to the national economy, and will be ready to transport freight by the beginning of next year, according to the deputy governor of Hail province, who was speaking to the Arab News daily.

The US$136.8 million project extends from Haditha, on the Saudi border with Jordan, to Riyadh, passing through the provinces of Jouf, Hail, Qassim and Sudair, and will allow the transport of phosphates and bauxite from the north to processing plants in the south.

Other rail projects being developed in the Kingdom include the Landbridge Project, linking Jeddah with the existing Riyadh-Dammam route, and the 450-kilometre Haramain link that will connect Jeddah with Makkah and Medina.
Of particular interest to forwarders is the Landbridge Project, which will allow containers to be shipped from the Gulf to the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast, avoiding the voyage around the Arabian Peninsula.

According to the newspaper, Mada Industrial and Commercial Investments and Binladin Group from Saudi Arabia are vying with Kuwait’s Agility (formerly PWC Logistics) and France’s Bouygues Travaux to gain the BOT contract.

“The matter of endorsing the winner of the contract is left for higher authorities,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Hoqail, president of Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO), according to the Arab News.
 

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