The Land Bridge is expected to cut three days of the current five-day seaborne journey of freight around the coasts of Saudi Arabia in a project that is seen as an important step to reducing Saudi economy’s dependence on crude oil.
As a result it will issue contract tenders by the end of 2017 or early 2018, he said.
According to the executive, the company has seen an encouraging response for a call for expressions of interest in the private sector, thus, it made a decision to launch a bidding process soon.
Saudi Arabia first awarded contracts for a privately funded coast-to-coast line in 2008 in an effort to accelerate the transit of goods around a country a fifth the size of the USA, but put the project on hold after financial terms could not be agreed.
São Paulo – Saudi Arabia is planning to float a tender from the end of this year to the beginning of the next for the building of Land Bridge railway, which will connect the Red Sea Port, in Jeddah, to the Arab Gulf and the country’s capital, Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is the world’s biggest oil exporter, but has been forced to diversify its economy away from oil, as global prices have fallen and oil’s long-term future looks uncertain.
Heavy transport of minerals, oil, and petrochemicals is the largest source of income among Saudi Railway’s service lines, according to the company website.
The increase will not be subject to any further hike while prices of other fuels will be increased gradually and this by 2021, reports say.
Saudi Railway is also looking at expanding rail links to better serve energy giant Saudi Arabian Oil, or Aramco. which has bulk plants in Tabuk, Turaif and the Al Jouf region close to the Jordanian border for the distribution of gasoline, diesel fuel and other liquid products. The company also has projects to facilitate the transportation of the agriculture production of Al Jawf, where the majority of Saudi farms are located.