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Dubai: A modern rail network is set to connect countries in the Arabian peninsula over the next decade, with Gulf Cooperation Council nations committing over USD 100 billion to projects that will ensure cost-effective means to transport goods and services.
Continuing high demand for oil and gas as well as the increasing need for cost-effective means to transport goods and services across the region has led to a spurt in demand for better transport and communication links throughout the Middle East, a report released by Epoc Messe Frankfurt, organiser of a trade show to be held in Dubai later this month, said.
Governments in the GCC have been quick to realise this and have chalked out plans for multi-billion dollar transport and networking projects that will help further the region's clout as a magnet for international logistics and engineering service providers.
"With a large number of transport and logistics projects underway in the region, the way materials, resources and goods are transported is set to change dramatically," said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Epoc Messe Frankfurt.
"Projects such as the Etihad Railway in the UAE, the Saudi Landbridge, the North-South Railway in Saudi Arabia, and a project to eventually link Oman, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait are set to make for the easier transfer of goods and services into, out of and across the countries quickly and efficiently. These and other infrastructural projects make the Gulf an increasingly attractive destination for logistics and engineering professionals," he added.
The Etihad or Union Railway in the UAE is a gigantic project that will ease the flow of goods and resources across the region.
The USD 11 billion and 1,500 km railway project, which is set to connect all emirates in the UAE, is due to be completed by 2017.
Saudi Arabia alone is geared up to spend USD 25 billion on three mega projects set to ease the transport of people and goods across the vast stretches of the Kingdom.
Another mega rail project that has attracted interest internationally is the recent agreement among Qatar, Oman, Iran, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to build a railway connecting the landlocked Central Asian countries rich in oil, natural gas and agricultural resources with the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf through Iran.
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