The GCC Rail Authority approved in December 2021 by the GCC Supreme Council will begin its activity in June to oversee and manage the implementation of region’s railway network.
“We have a strong belief to build our railway system which is extremely important for the region’s connectivity, economy and market, as well as for the integration of GCC providing a viable, efficient and sustainable transport system,” Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, the Secretary General, GCC Gulf Cooperation Council said at Middle East Rail 2022. The event is taking place on 17-18 May in Abu Dhabi.
Since 2008, the CGG countries – United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – announced their plans to create a seamless rail system providing east-west and north-south connection in the region.
The GCC rail strategy involves the construction of a 2,000 km network estimated at USD 200 billion and when completed, it will support the development of the region and will answer mobility needs while tackling climate and other crisis.
“We meet challenges on energy market and goods and people need a sustainable transport. The pandemic affected the entire system including the supply chain and rail has the ability to tackle all these problems and the future crisis, that’s why we need the GCC Rail Authority which will take the responsibility to deliver fast, rapid and safe transport services,” the GCC Secretary General said.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are the front runners of the project. Etihad Rail, the company which operates and develop the railway system in the United Arab Emirates, has presented in December 2021 its USD 13.6 billion strategy to build new lines ensuring the connections with the GCC countries. At the Middle East Rail, Shadi Malak, the CEO of Etihad Rail, has announced that it has completed the construction of 75% of the second phase of the national rail network which will provide connection from the border of Saudi Arabia to the border of Oman.
In 2021, the government of Saudi Arabia announced its commitment to build new railway lines which will increase country’s connectivity and will play an important role for rail integration in the GCC region. The authorities plan to invest USD 150 billion to develop country’s transport system. “Currently, the railway strategy is under approval and we intend to launch new projects to promote rail transport and rail connectivity in the GCC,” Rumaih Al Rumaih, the President of Saudi Transport General Authority (TGA) said at the Middle East Rail.