24 March 14

National rail links set for improvement

A railway scheme that has captured the attention of the Red Sea Gateway Terminal is the Saudi Land Bridge Project. Part of the Saudi Railways Expansion Programme, the planned railway project will connect Jeddah on the Red Sea coast with the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. While the project has been on the drawing board for a number of years, the failure of the Australian/Saudi 2008 concession winner to financially close the project left the plans in limbo. However, in an acknowledgment of the national importance of the link the Saudi government decided in 2011 that the project would go ahead as a state project. “The Saudi Land Bridge is one of the key infrastructure projects of the government, and although the schedule is delayed, the project has been already launched,” chief operating officer Soren Hansen says. “And the recent development is that the Public Investment Fund has appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff and Fluor Corp to provide project management consultancy services for the design and construction of the 950 km land bridge railway planned to link Jeddah with Riyadh.“ Jeddah port, he adds, is expected to be the main connecting point of the Land Bridge. “Saudi Railway Organization and Jeddah Islamic Port are well aware of the necessity for the connection between the Land Bridge and the port, as it serves as the main gateway for the country’s cargo, inbound and outbound, and completes the country’s logistics connection from Jeddah port to Riyadh and Dammam port to the East. “The current scenario is that Riyadh-bound cargo is mainly connected through Dammam, which is plagued with congestion issues,” says Mr Hansen. “With the Land Bridge in place, Jeddah will have a direct connection to Riyadh, especially for the cargoes from Mediterranean and Europe. So, there will be positive impact on container volume growth for Jeddah port.”

Source: Port Strategy