Dubai Metro kick starts 30,000 km of railway tracks in Middle East

Dubai has set the example in the Middle East region with its success story of Dubai Metro, noted Ed James, Director of Analysis at Meed Projects.

In an era considered the golden years of the railway industry, the example of Dubai Metro has also been dubbed ‘the Dubai metro effect’.

“Where Dubai leads, others follow,” he pointed out at the ongoing MENA Rail & Metro Summit held by Meed.

Billions of dollars are invested in rail network systems all over the Middle East. Countries where currently no rail network exists have mega projects in the rail sector planned. Metro as well as train networks are not only set to connect cities, but countries in the region.

The Red Line and Green Line of Dubai Metro formed two of the most costly rail projects undertaken in the last decade. Both at a value of USD3,811 million, these metro connections ranked 5th and 6th in the top ten most valuable rail projects over the last ten years, according to Meed. 







However, with the incentive of the anticipated success of a well-developed rail network, these rankings are soon to change.  Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman Kuwait, Bahrein and Qatar have joined ranks as the major spenders in the industry.

The UAE will continue to be part of the rail sector boom. The Abu Dhabi metro project is a major contributor, ranking 12th on the top 15 of future projects, according to the latest figures of Meed. In the procurement stage contracts valued at USD5100 million are expected to be awarded.

Further, contracts for the second phase of the Etihad Rail projects are expected to be awarded soon, which will cover the connection between the major ports and cities in the country, and links to Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Dubai Metro’s existing lines will be extended by 2020, and new metro lines are in the pipeline in a long-term project expected to be completed by 2030. A total of USD30,000 million is expected to be invested in the railway industry, said the figures.

At the same time, major projects are underway in Saudi Arabia, which is clearly leading the industry. With more than USD110,000 million to be injected in the railway sector, many of the major projects are undertaken in the neighbouring country, such as Riyadh Metro, Mecca Metro and the GCC railway network eventually connecting to the UAE in Ghuweifat.

On the eastside, a rail network plan is starting to take shape in Oman. With currently no railway system in place, the country is expected to see a major transformation with its connection to the GCC Railway network. Once completed, a total length of 2,244km in railway tracks will connect the countries’ main cities, and form a link to the UAE at Buraimi/Al Ain and Khatmat Milaha/Fujeirah.

Currently, no railway networks exist in Qatar, Bahrein and Yemen, countries which have pledged to be part of the wider GCC network. Projects in these countries are now in full fledge. “Doha awarded USD40 billion in contracts last year alone,” said James.

In total, the Arab region is expected to be covered by 30,000km of railway network, which will costs USD90 billion to be completed, pointed out Meed.

Last year, the railway industry accounted for 28 per cent of the construction and infrastructure contracts awarded, which amounted to USD129 billion. The majority of these contracts were awarded in the GCC region, summing up a total value of nearly USD36 billion.

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