Gulf Railway project gains momentum

  • The Gulf Railway project is the most ambitious project in the region, aiming to connect the six GCC countries with a rail network of over 2,100 kilometers.
  • The GCC Railway Authority has invited companies to submit bids for a contract to prepare the project plan and study the operational plan for the project.

The Gulf Railway project is the most ambitious infrastructure project planned for the GCC region. It aims to connect all six GCC member countries – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates – with a massive rail network stretching over 2,100 kilometers. This ambitious project is taking a significant step forward.

The GCC Railway Authority has recently invited companies to submit bids for a contract to prepare a comprehensive project plan and study the operational aspects of the railway. This tender, launched on June 5th, marks a crucial step as companies have until July 7th to submit their bids.

According to the official notice, companies interested in bidding must have proven experience in several key areas. This includes developing operational plans for railway projects, a deep understanding of railway transport and logistics standards, and expertise in data collection, analysis, and modeling.

Additionally, companies should have experience in studies related to transport and railway legislation, demonstrating a strong grasp of relevant laws and regulations.

Making progress

According to Al-Qabas newspaper, MEED reports that the project has gained momentum since its official relaunch by the GCC Secretariat in January 2021. There have been a series of positive developments recently, with all six GCC member states either declaring or signaling their plans for their specific sections of the rail network.

For instance, officials from Bahrain’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications met with a delegation from the GCC Rail Authority in July 2023. This meeting followed similar positive developments elsewhere in the GCC.

In May 2023, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud authorised discussions regarding a draft agreement with Kuwait for a railway line connecting the two countries.

The leaders of the GCC countries took a major step forward in January 2022 by agreeing to establish the GCC Rail Authority. This dedicated entity is tasked with developing comprehensive policies and fostering close coordination between member states. The Authority’s role is imperative in ensuring the smooth implementation and operation of the entire railway network.

With increased project activity, governments allocating budgets towards the project, and agreements reached under the Al Ula Declaration, the recent efforts to revive the GCC Railway project appear to be making more substantial progress than previous attempts.

The successful completion of this railway line could be transformative for the entire region, fostering a deeper sense of connection and unity between the GCC countries.

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