Jordan to Renovate Aqaba Railway to Meet Phosphate Trade Demand
The Jordanian government has decided to revamp the Aqaba railway network to meet a growing demand to transport phosphate shipments, reported the Jordan Times on Monday.
It added that the decision would not jeopardize a 1999 concession agreement with a US-led consortium.
Transport Minister Nader Dahabi told the paper that the rehabilitation scheme would help the aging railway cope with more cargo, according to an understanding reached between Aqaba Railway Corporation (ARC) and the Jordan Phosphate Mines Co. (JPMC).
The deal came in the absence of an agreement that the consortium should have reached with the JPMC to operate and upgrade the rail network.
“We had to step in to improve the services,” said Dahabi, adding that the government's move “does not contravene the deal reached with the consortium.”
In August 1999, the consortium “Jordan Rail,” which groups Wisconsin Central International, Mitsubishi Corporation, CCC Contractors and the Amman-based Kawar Group signed a 25-year concession agreement with the Jordanian government to manage, operate and expand the Aqaba railway network.
This fell under a major privatization drive touching on major industries and services.
Under the 1999 agreement, both sides did not decide when to launch the project but agreed that the “commencement date” should take effect 10 days after they set terms of operation such as the “targeted quantities, transportation tariffs and possible fines.”
To date they have failed to reach any deal on these issues, according to the paper.
Jordan has been reviving some of its rail transport systems in recent years, to carry both cargo and tourists – Albawaba.com
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