Saudi Rlys extends date for multibillion-riyal project

JEDDAH — The Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO) has extended the date for receiving pre-qualification applications from international consortia intending to participate in the multibillion-riyal landbridge project.

By From Our Correspondent

Published: Fri 12 Aug 2005, 12:48 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:14 PM

"The date of accepting applications has been extended to August 31 in response to demands by companies intending to bid for the project," Khaled Al Yahya, SRO's president announced in Riyadh on Monday.

He said the landmark project was aimed at linking King Fahd Port in Jubail, King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam, the Dry Port in Riyadh and the Jeddah Islamic Port with a state-of-the-art railway network and developing the existing railway line between Dammam and Riyadh.

The landbridge project involves construction of 950km of new tracks between Riyadh and Jeddah and another 115km line between Dammam and Jubail. SRO intends to build another railway line linking Jeddah with Makkah, Madinah and Yanbu.

The landbridge is the cornerstone of the expansion programme. It would be the first rail link between the Red Sea and the Gulf and was expected to have a profound impact on the region's shipping patterns. A considerable savings in shipping time for goods from Europe and North America destined for Gulf markets should be possible with the landbridge.

A consortium consisting of UBS Investment Bank, the National Commercial Bank and SNCF International has been providing financial and technical advisory services for the project. Linklaters, together with the law office of Abdulaziz H. Fahad, extends legal advisory services.

Several US and European companies have already expressed their keen interests to take part in the project linking the country's east and west. "A number of small and medium American companies have shown their enthusiasm to enter the Kingdom's transport industry through the railway project," said Ali Saad Al-Qarni, SRO's vice-president for technical affairs.

He said SRO would identify the route of the landbridge project soon. "We'll also finalise the technical and operational standards shortly," he added.

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