Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – 31 July 2017: Saudi Railways Company (SAR) mineral trains transported 4.06 million tons of phosphate and bauxite over the first half of 2017 compared to 3.21 million tons over the same period in 2016 – an increase of 27 percent.
SAR’s CEO Dr. Bashar Bin Khaled Al Malik said: “Mineral trains transported a total of 23,683,134 tons of phosphate, bauxite, molten sulfur and commercial phosphoric acid between May 2011 and June 2017.”
He added that SAR succeeded in raising the operational level of its mining freight line that resulted in generating additional capacity to meet the needs and requirements of its strategic partner Ma’aden.
The company’s operational division has achieved significant growth in phosphate and bauxite transportation this year, he said.
Al Malik explained that SAR started transporting molten sulfur from the Eastern Province city of Waset to Wa’ad Al-Shamal in the north last May after successfully connecting the latter to its railway network.
The company also started transporting commercial phosphoric acid from Wa’ad Al-Shamal to Ma’aden’s refinery in Ras Al Khair by the Arabian Gulf coast last June. SAR aims to increase the transportation rates to and from Wa’ad Al-Shamal in compliance with Ma’aden’s requirements.
SAR wagons transporting molten sulfur are equipped with the latest safety measures such as thermal insulation systems and safety valves to prevent combustion during transportation as well as heating systems in each vehicle.
SAR was initially founded in 2006 by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) to implement a railway project linking the northern region with both the eastern and central regions of the Kingdom. It was also tasked with operating and managing the project in line with the highest international performance and safety standards.
Since then, SAR has implemented strategically important railway projects that transport minerals and heavy haulage as well as passengers all over the country.
The heavy transport of minerals, oil and petrochemicals is one of the most important pillars of SAR business, with over 16,000 tons of goods transported per trip on trains each consisting of three locomotives and more than 160 cars. Each trip is equivalent to taking 640 trucks off the road.
The North Rail passenger service, which currently operates between Riyadh and Qassim but will eventually run all the way to Qurayyat near the Jordanian border, is projected to carry an average of 1,100 a day by the end of this year. This number is expected to increase to an average of 6,575 passengers a day.
Through such projects, SAR aims to play a prominent role in supporting the country’s development and economic diversification efforts along with the new Saudi Vision 2030 and providing training and job opportunities for young citizens.