Saudi transport forum puts global spotlight on Kingdom’s booming rail sector

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A session in progress at the Railway Forum in Riyadh. (Photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Guests at Railway Forum exhibition in Riyadh. (Photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Minister of Transport Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser speaking at Railway Forum in Riyadh. (Photo courtesy: Railway Forum Twitter page)
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Guests at Railway Forum exhibition in Riyadh. (Photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Guests at Railway Forum exhibition in Riyadh. (Photo by Rashid Hassan)
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Updated 28 January 2020

Saudi transport forum puts global spotlight on Kingdom’s booming rail sector

  • The Railway Forum sought to enhance strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors

RIYADH: An international conference highlighting the development and growth of the Saudi railway sector on Tuesday opened in Riyadh.

The two-day Railway Forum, organized by the Saudi Railway Co. (SAR) under the patronage of King Salman, is being held at the capital’s Ritz-Carlton hotel with the title, “Joining Tracks for a Closer Future.”

The gathering aims to create an international platform in the Middle East for the active exchange of knowledge and expertise between local and international rail industry experts and stakeholders while promoting the growth potential of the sector in the Kingdom and regionally.

Speaking at the forum’s opening session, Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, said the global railway industry was witnessing strong growth with increased investment.

He pointed out that an aggressive rate of industrialization was expected to develop the international market even further while the need for fast, reliable, risk-limited and affordable means of transportation was becoming a necessity.

The sector was working to keep pace with population growth and increased world demand for transportation in general and railways in particular, which were faster, cheaper and safer, the minister added.

Al-Jasser told delegates that the Kingdom was undergoing bold developments in all sectors to realize the Saudi Vision 2030, and the railways, in which Saudi Arabia was investing heavily, were expected to play a key role in turning the country into a global logistics hub.

The Railway Forum sought to enhance strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors, he added.

Bashar Al-Malik, CEO of the SAR, said he hoped the event would generate new ideas to help further boost the Saudi railway sector.

He pointed out that SAR now had huge fleets connecting various cities and more than 47 million tons of minerals had been transported to date, taking around 4 million truckloads off the roads.

Inaugurated by King Salman in September 2018, the Kingdom’s Haramain high-speed railway was one of the most modern and fastest means of transport in the Middle East, added Al-Malik.

It was the first electric train of its kind in the region covering more than 450 km and connecting five stations in Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdul Aziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic City, and Madinah.

All the stations included facilities such as lounges for business-class travelers, a center for public transport, helicopter landing sites, parking lots, civil defense stations, mosques and commercial spaces to meet passenger requirements.

The forum will be divided into sessions discussing the global vision toward 2030, urban rail, logistic railway benefits, safety and security, and future rail.

It will also offer a unique and active stage for industry stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise, discover new trends and find potential investment opportunities.


Muslim World League chief lays foundation stone for Islamic museum in Jakarta

Updated 29 February 2020

Muslim World League chief lays foundation stone for Islamic museum in Jakarta

JAKARTA: A museum dedicated to Prophet Muhammad and the history of Islamic civilization will soon rise in the Indonesian capital.

Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), laid the foundation stone for the Jakarta branch of the Museum of the Life of the Prophet and Islamic Civilization on Feb. 28, 2020, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

An MWL post on Twitter said the museum will feature lush gardens in one of the most visited area in the city.

Al-Issa was quoted by SPA as saying that Jakarta would become the first branch of the Madinah international museum, hosting a variety of events, debates, training sessions, conferences, forums and seminars.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, Al-Issa and his delegation met with the Saudi Ambassador to Indonesia, Essam bin Abed Al-Thaqafi.

The meeting was also attended by the Kingdom’s deputy envoy to the southeast Asian country, and Saudi embassy staff.