Austria shows interest in funding new Saudi railway
Four Austrian companies have recently expressed interest in funding the new railway network to be built in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government plans on adding 3,000 kilometers to its already existing 1,400 kilometer long railway, reported Al-Hayat. Initial estimates fix the cost of the project at SR 10 billion ($196 million).
Saudi Minister of Communication, Nasser Salloum, recently met in Riyadh with Austrian Minister of Economy and Cooperation, Marten Bartenstien. Accompanied by a large business delegation, the Austrian minister arrived in the Kingdom to discuss trade relations.
Potential Austrian investors are the V.E.I, Blater, Dobel, Mayer and Svilslki companies. The new network is one of Saudi Arabia’s public ventures set aside for privatization.
The railway will be implemented in two phases. Phase one will link Dammam and Jeddah. Phase two will see the extension of the railroad from Riyadh to northwest. Future plans foresee a link between the Northern Province and the Mediterranean region, covering Jordan and Turkey.
The project is expected to bring down the cost of transportation, stimulate the mining sector and relieve Umrah traffic. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the Arabian Peninsula with a railway. At the moment there is only one active route between the capital and Dammam. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)