World Economy

$200b Railroad Investments Planned in MENA

$200b Railroad Investments Planned in MENA$200b Railroad Investments Planned in MENA

As investment in rail projects accelerates throughout the region – with at least some $167b-worth of active future rail or metro projects planned and un-awarded in the Middle East, early action needs to be taken to ensure there is effective interoperability among the new railway systems of the Middle East, experts say.

After many years when rail infrastructure was neglected, the last decade has seen a boom in railway construction. Since 2000 just under $90bn-worth of rail and metro contracts has been awarded in the Middle East, Business Intelligence reported.

By far the largest market is Saudi Arabia with some $44b-worth of contracts. This is more than double the second largest market, Algeria, which sits on $17b-worth, and the $13.8b-worth of deals awarded in Qatar.

A record total $200b worth of rail investment is planned in the Middle East and North Africa based on the pipeline of rail and metro projects under way in each country in the region, according to the latest data and research from MEED Projects, the online projects tracking service.

This equates to more than 33,700km of mainline routes and 3,000km of metro as the region prioritizes the development of rail infrastructure as a means of alleviating congestion, improving access to more remote areas and diversifying the economy.

 Future Projects

Saudi Arabia is also the largest rail market in terms of future projects. Thanks to giant projects such as the Mecca and Jeddah metros, the Saudi Landbridge and the planned cross-country networks, the kingdom will offer billions of dollars-worth of future projects. Qatar, Egypt and the UAE are the next largest future markets. The latter has the Abu Dhabi metro and the second phase of the Etihad Rail schemes as well as the extensions of the Dubai metro.

In Qatar, there are still several contracts to be awarded on the Doha metro in addition to the main packages on the long-distance passenger and freight networks. And in Egypt, there are long-held plans to develop lines 4-6 of the Cairo metro together with high-speed networks from the north to the south of the country.

The massive opportunities that the MENA region presents for  contractors, consultants