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Last Updated:[14-05-2009 05:16:36 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

GCC Rail Projects Provide Huge Opportunities for Rail and Related Global Businesses

tradenews Apart from about 4000km long rail tracks criss-crossing the GCC states, there are several other railway projects in progress and coming up across Gulf region. France, China, the US, UK and India already have a significant presence in the construction of these mega projects. Gulf region is showing keen interest in pursuing railway projects as a means to minimise costs on transportation and for faster delivery of goods.

The projects in the pipeline and in progress range from city trams to heavier freight routes. From the sponsorship line-up including IBM and Sharp during the ongoing MENA Rail 2009 conference in Dubai made it apparent that besides railway companies there are many in the fray vying to have a piece of the mega Gulf railway pie.

Various companies that provide rail-related products and services have opened offices across the Gulf region to utilize business opportunities and market their wares. Invensys, a UK based company that provides industrial automation, rail transportation and controls is one such company that has set up office in Dubai to augment its regional visibility.

Ala Ghanem, the regional director of business development at Invensys opined the Gulf was the most promising region at the moment for railway and related businesses. He acknowledged that there were not only many projects coming up but also were massive ones that no one in this field could afford to sideline.

The foremost project is the first proposed route of 1,970km long running through Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain over Qatar, and crossing the relevant stretches of water by bridge and continuing to UAE and Oman. The second will cover 1,984km from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia before passing through UAE and ending in Oman. The ultimate goal of this project is to link the whole of Middle East with each every country of the region. Once completed it is likely to have 16 lanes and an approximate length of 19,000km.

Other projects such as $4.2bn worth Dubai metro system, Abu Dhabi’s freight rail network, 130km of metro lines and a 340km tram system, 580km of high-speed rail to Al Ain, Dubai and Al Gharbia and Bahrain’s $8.13bn rail line with six lanes stretching 184km are few of those projects attracting many from this field.

According to Unife, a European rail consortium the global market is worth $167bn (Dh608.81bn) a year, and the Middle East and Africa account for just about $5.5bn. Michael Clausecker, the director general of Unife asserted that though it would not be the largest market, but it was one with substantial opportunities and substantial growth potential.

By Jose Roy

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