Kuwait starts work on freight-focused rail project
Work has reportedly started on a 111km railway project to connect Kuwait with the rest of the Gulf region.
According to a report by Al Anba newspaper, the first phase of the project will create a new line to Nuwaiseb on the Saudi border and a 153km line linking Kuwait City with Boubyan Port.
Citing senior officials, the newspaper said phase one will cost an estimated US $3-billion.
Kuwait’s Public Authority for Roads and Transportation (PART) expects to appoint a technical consultant for Phase 1 in the third quarter of this year.
The estimated cost of the first phase is 900-million Dinars (US $3-billion) at 2016 prices and construction is expected to take four to five years.
Freight is expected to generate more than 70% of revenue, although the first phase will also host passenger services from Kuwait City to Dammam in Saudi Arabia, which will operate at up to 225km/h on the Kuwaiti section.
Ultimately a 575km network is envisaged, with a link to Iraq and lines serving the ports of Shuwaikh and Shuaiba.
The 2,100km passenger and cargo network stretching through all six Gulf states from Kuwait to Oman has faced technical and bureaucratic obstacles, and stalled as state budgets tightened because of low oil prices.
Bahrain has said it would not connect its network to a neighbouring state, Saudi Arabia, until at least 2023.