Al-Jasser: Works under way with Chinese-led consortium to implement Land Bridge project
Minister of Transport and Logistics Saleh Al-Jasser announced that the Saudi authorities are working with a consortium, led by a leading Chinese company and participated by 11 international companies, to implement the Land Bridge railway project.
Addressing the second edition of the Municipal Investment Forum (FURAS) at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center here on Wednesday, the minister said that negotiations are under way to determine the final cost and financing of the project.
“The project, linking the eastern and western parts of Saudi Arabia, is considered as one of the most important projects, of which the design works have been completed, and the path and detailed designs have been determined,” he said.
Al-Jasser said that there is another path to implement the project with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the event of not reaching an agreement with the companies.
The Land Bridge project would connect the Kingdom’s seaports on the Red Sea coast with the seaports on the coast of the Arabian Gulf via Riyadh. The minister said the Land Bridge project includes seven integrated logistical areas.
“Implementation of 22 out of 59 logistical areas has so far been completed, of which 13 have been identified to integrate with the industry system, and agreements have been signed with international companies regarding six logistical areas in ports last year,” he said.
Al-Jasser said that the transport and logistics services sector at the global level is ready for privatization, and Saudi Arabia has made great strides in the process of privatization of this sector.
There are sectors for private investment in full, there are sectors in which there is existing participation, and there are sectors that are in the process of building mechanisms for integration with the private sector.
It is necessary to benefit from various financing sources in order to implement investments in the transport and logistics sector, the minister said while noting that the most important of which is a partnership with the private sector.
“This provides attractive opportunities for the private sector and is considered as an outlet for the projects and initiatives included in the National Strategy for Transport and Logistics Services,” he said.
Al-Jasser said that the best example of partnerships with the private sector in the past period is Prince Muhammad International Airport in Madinah.
It was established entirely by the private sector in partnership with the public sector, and the airport is a qualitative leap for the city in terms of services, capacity, and quality.
He cited the partnership in operating ports as another example. There are three contracts concluded with the private sector in the Jeddah Islamic Port and the King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam to invest in developing and operating container terminals over a period of 30 years, with a commitment to investments amounting to about SR17 billion during the period.
A large part of it started with the arrival of equipment and the development of existing equipment and technologies.
Al-Jasser said that there are 22 opportunities present in platforms such as the FURAS platform, the most prominent of which are in the aviation sector.
There are airports such as Abha airport, the new Taif airport, the new Qassim airport, and the new Hail airport that are being offered for the private sector. Moreover, there are opportunities in road and logistics sectors also, he added.