GCC to start rail network in 2013

Gulf oil producers will begin the construction of a $30-billion rail network in 2013 and it could take nearly four years to be completed to become the first project to link six nations in the Arab region, an official has said.

Communication ministry undersecretaries from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) discussed the mega project at talks in Abu Dhabi on Monday and they would present proposals to their ministers.

“This is one of the most important projects to be carried out in the GCC,” said Abdullah Al Sbhubaili, GCC assistant undersecretary for economic affairs.

“Some GCC members have already started the design stage, which should be completed by the end of 2012…the executive phase on the ground will be launched at the start of 2013 and the project will be completed in 2017.”

The UAE, the second largest Arab economy, is building its own inter-emirate rail network, which could be linked to the GCC train project at a later stage.

Quoted by the semi official daily Alittihad on Tuesday, director of the National communications Authority Nasser Saif Al Mansouri said bids have already been invited for the implementation of the GCC rail project.

“In the UAE, we have completed the studies and designs phase and invited bids for this vital project,” he said.

According to the paper, the rail way will stretch nearly 2,117 km, starting from Kuwait and traversing Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE to end up in Oman. “Officials expect the project to contribute to supporting the GCC customs union and common market as it will largely facilitate the movement of trade and capital among member states,” it said.

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