Saudi rail chiefs reveal expansion plans for freight, passengers

SAR has ambitious plans for an expanded passenger network. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 11 September 2018

Saudi rail chiefs reveal expansion plans for freight, passengers

  • The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) moved 9 million tons of freight last year
  • SAR has plans for an expanded passenger network

RIYADH: Saudi rail chiefs plan to turn the Kingdom into a global logistics hub with an expanded network of commercial and industrial freight services.

The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) already moved 9 million tons of freight last year, delegates to a forum in Riyadh were told. Compared with other means of transport, trains have a lower carbon footprint, cost less, are more reliable and have lower manpower requirements, the forum heard.

“The railway sector is witnessing qualitative growth with added focus on freight,” said Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi. 

“Conditions have been put in place for rail freight to unleash its enormous potential and increase its attractiveness to customers.”

SAR also has ambitious plans for an expanded passenger network, its Chief Executive Bashar Khaled Almalik told Arab News at the forum. “We are growing and growing,” he said.

“We have several projects under construction including a connection to Jubail Industrial City and another to Ras Al-Khair, where we have gone up to the northern borders.

“We are also looking to build the connection between the two networks here in Riyadh and move on, depending on the demands and the needs of our customers.”

Transport Minister Al-Amoudi added: “We have expansion plans and some master plans to be executed within next few years. We are looking at the Saudi Land Bridge Project, which will connect Riyadh with Jeddah.”


Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

Updated 56 min 25 sec ago

Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

  • Finance representatives of 150 government bodies meet for the Budget Forum 2020

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.