Freight flow through GCC network could have a transformational effect on international trade and commerce in the region
- United Arab Emirates: Tuesday, October 16 - 2012 at 16:18
- PRESS RELEASE
The world rail market will continue to grow despite the global economic downturn, driven in large part by the sector's growth in the Gulf region, according to industry experts speaking today at The MENA Rail Projects Conference in Abu Dhabi.
Dr Amjad Bangash, Managing Director, Rail at Bechtel, one of the world's leading engineering, procurement and construction companies, said that "The Middle East and North Africa region (Mena) is currently one of the world's fastest growing markets for rail. The region's mainline rail network is set to almost double in size over the coming decades, while metro, tram and monorail track lengths will increase tenfold."
Bechtel, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in the UAE this year, boasts a century of rail and transit experience and more than 12,000-kilometres of track, designed and built. This includes Britain's first High Speed rail line in London which connects central London to the Channel Tunnel and dramatically cuts travel time between London and the European continent, as well as both multi-billion development programs of Crossrail, also in London and Korea's High Speed Rail.
Dr Amjad Bangash, who has been working for Bechtel for twenty years and was recently Project Director for Bechtel at the Khalifa Port and Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD) Project in the United Arab Emirates, said that "the freight market is a key driver for the development of the GCC rail network.
"Rail freight is particularly attractive across long distances," he explained. "There is potential for significant positive impact on trade and commerce flows. Centuries ago, the Silk Route connected trade routes into an extensive transcontinental network. In the same spirit, the development of the GCC network could have a transformational effect on international trade and commerce in the region," according to him. Studies show that trains carry freight with nearly ten times the energy efficiency of trucks per ton/mile.
This resurgence in rail projects that the Arab region is witnessing today will see over US$ 156 billion worth of projects planned or under way in the region, which covers a landmass of 15 million square kilometer and a sheer 34,000 kilometres of rail tracks. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has the most projects planned or under way in the Arab region, at an estimated cost of US$31 billion. Other markets with more than $10 billion of projects are the UAE and Kuwait with $14 billion worth of projects each and Qatar and Iraq with US$13 billion worth of projects each.
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