Saudi Railways to be privatized after major expansion
The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) is on track for privatization, according to senior company official, Hussain Khamash Al-Qahtani. The acquisition of the SRO is expected to follow a major expansion of the Kingdom's railway network.
"The vision of the company is clear, and that is to privatize," Al-Qahtani told the Saudi Gazette on Wednesday. He said that the expansion plans could be tendered in the form of two separate contracts for privatization.
SRO hopes to become more attractive to potential investors, Al-Qahtani explained. The multi-billion dollar expansion will see the addition of a 950-kilometer link between Riyadh and Jeddah on the Red Sea, which will join existing lines from Jeddah to the city of Dammam. According to the daily, this network would cut transportation time for containers from Dammam to Jeddah Islamic Port by about a week compared to shipping.
In addition to the coast-to-coast link , the extended railway system will link the Kingdom’s major cities—Riyadh, Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu. Another connection will be laid between Dammam and the industrial port of Jubail.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that operates a railway system. It is however currently limited to only one route liking Riyadh to Dammam. Established in 1966 as an independent public utility, the organization operates a 1,391-kilometer railroad, three main passenger stations, the dry port in Riyadh and a fleet of locomotives and cars. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)