Saudi rail chiefs reveal expansion plans for freight, passengers

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

 


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.