$250bn investments in MENA rail projects until 2015
25 September 2012
MUSCAT — A project rail boom within the transport sector in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to materialise in the next three years as the region allocates more than $250 billion worth of investments in various rail projects.
The region has one of the lowest density rail networks in the world, with just under 34,000 km of track over a landmass of 15 million square km. The boom in the construction of railway infrastructure is expected to double the track network to 67,000 km and create huge opportunities for local and international businesses — from consultancy and design services to track, rolling stock and communication systems.
This year, there are currently $156 billion worth of rail projects planned or under way in the region, according to projects tracker MEED Projects. Nearly 29 per cent of these are currently being built and 12.5 per cent are currently being tendered.
Not surprisingly, the most active countries are those that cover large areas and have comparatively large populations. Iran has the most projects planned or under way with $34 billion of schemes, closely followed by Saudi Arabia with $31 billion. Other markets with more than $10 billion of projects are Iraq with $13 billion, Kuwait with $14 billion, Qatar $13 billion, and the UAE with $14 billion.
“With governments across the region investing heavily in rail mega projects, the vision of the early railway pioneers to link cities across the Middle East and beyond is finally being realised. MEED’s MENA Rail Projects conference has been designed to provide a critical review of these major projects which will reveal key challenges, insights and business opportunities for the rail industry focused on projects in the MENA region,” said Edmund O’Sullivan, chairman, MEED Events, organisers of the MENA Rail Projects Conference.