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Railway projects imperatively for GCC economic development - Foreign experts
January 14, 2016, 8:29 am

Some foreign experts have shared the view that railway projects are considered a dire need for economic development in Kuwait and GCC member states as well.

In a seminar organized on Wednesday by the Kuwait Economic Society entitled "effective strategies of projects of metro and railways", experts stressed that Kuwait should begin quickly launching projects of metro and railways to face continued expansion of new urban areas in southern and northern the country.

Metro projects need concerted efforts of both the private and public sectors as they have many technical details during the phases of construction which take about seven years, experts said.

Steve Lankester, an official at Parsons Brinckerhoff, a multinational engineering and design firm, said metro projects need a number of technical steps which should be implemented accurately after conducting a detailed study on the goals of these projects. There should be a clear vision of the State about this project, he added.

Transport projects are used for passengers and commodities as well, he said, adding that Kuwait can benefit greatly from this move as it has a growing housing and commercial expansion.

On her part, Nada Abu Al Samh, a financial analyst at the GCC General Secretariat, reviewed the experiment of Saudi Arabia pertaining to the establishment of metro projects, saying current projects are estimated at USD 15.4 billion.

On his part, John Thomas, Regulatory Affairs Advisor at UAE's Etihad Rail, said that an establishment was formed in Abu Dhabi in 2009 and a plan was formulated to transport passengers through railways and connect them with the six emirates.

He added that the Etihad manages itself infrastructure of the metro and it is a successful example in Abu Dhabi, advising all GCC countries to take the same step.

There is cooperation with global experiences to set up connected railways at a speed of 200 km/hour for passengers and 120 km/hour for goods, he said.

Meanwhile, Connie Crawford, an expert at management of public transport projects at the Louis Berger Group, said there should be planning, construction and evaluation before setting up metro projects, adding that Kuwait is still designing the project that will take time.

A metro project in any country across the world includes expansion plans for several years, up to 100, during which the system can be developed every some years to deal with growing population and urban expansion, she noted.

Metro transport should be carried out in parallel with the development of cities to secure the maintenance of economic development particularly in Kuwait, she explained. On his part, Steven Webb, an expert at a French company specialized in metro projects operation, said metro transport will lessen traffic jams GCC member states are suffering from, adding that the network in Kuwait will be connected with all GCC countries.

This needs a full harmony among all means of transport connected with the metro project. System of public transport through buses will be integrated with metro networks in order to provide a complete service to citizens and residents as well, he pointed out.

GCC member states work on implementing railway projects to connect their cities and capitals with each other. Establishing process of infrastructure is estimated at USD 15.4 billion.

Source: KUNA

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