Gulf rail, road and maritime projects ‘worth $422 billion’

Fleming Gulf research puts estimate on regional infrastructure projects over the next five years

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The Gulf Cooperation Council’s combined rail, road, and maritime projects are worth an estimated $422 billion over the next five years, according to Fleming Gulf research.

The GCC’s integrated transport strategy will be the focus of NATRANS Arabia 2015, a first-of-its-kind event piecing together the Gulf region’s transportation infrastructure.


The conference-led exhibition is being held in partnership with the UAE Federal Transportation Authority – Land and Maritime and held under the patronage of Dr. Abdulla Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority - Land and Marine, and will highlight the UAE’s position within the region as a leading state in transport infrastructure development.

“The event will discuss and showcase proven, deployed schemes, pioneering research and development solutions that are intended to solve real world problems which are critical regional imperatives,” said Alex Heuff, Exhibition Director, NATRANS Arabia which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on Oct. 19-21, 2015.

“By creating an event which covers the industry as a whole, NATRANS Arabia is set to deliver a unique networking platform for the region’s entire land and maritime transportation sector,” added Heuff.

NATRANS Arabia consists of three distinct conference streams, incorporating the regions established rail conference – the 6th Middle East Rail Opportunities on Oct. 19- 20 plus two dedicated one-day conferences, firstly addressing road issues on Oct. 19 and secondly addressing maritime issues on Oct. 20.

During the 6th Middle East Rail Opportunities Summit, designs of nearly $200 billion in network projects will be presented, running from the Gulf coast from Kuwait, through Saudi Arabia, to the UAE and Oman, with branches linking Bahrain and Qatar. These projects will be completed before the end of the first quarter 2016.

“Construction is already in progress and will be fully operational in 2018. Abu Dhabi is spearheading the GCC rail network with its AED40 billion ($10.9 billion), Etihad Rail link project, which stretches for 1,200 kilometers, from Ghweifat on the Saudi border to south of Fujairah on the Omani border,” said Heuff.

The Middle East Road Conference will examine the progress of the region’s mega road project which is set to grow at a rapid pace over the next 5 years, valued at an estimated $32 billion.

The conference will also cover the international traffic management, (ITS), parking, road safety & maintenance of and transport infrastructure projects, such as multimodal systems and management have helped decrease accidents and the use of ITS technology in road safety.

The third streamed seminar, Middle East Maritime Conference, will take an in-depth look at the different investments in the maritime industry, which are expected to reach $66 billion in the next three years, with the UAE contributing 30-35% of the Middle East’s projected total investment valued at $190 billion over the next three years.

With the global significance of the Middle East’s ports and facilities is now more important than ever before and delegates will be presented with the latest industry developments.

The conference will also feature international case studies about how operational and logistical challenges and complexities can be overcome.

Speakers at NATRANS Arabia include Dr. Abdelgader Elshabani, Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi, Senior Transportation Planning Specialist, UAE; Mohammed Al-Mudharreb, Roads & Transport Authority (RTA), Director of Rail Operation, Rail Agency; and Loay Ghazaleh, Ministry of Works, Advisor to Undersecretary of the Ministry of Works, Bahrain.

“In addition, over 50 ministers and including key government decision makers will be attending this year’s conference to discuss the potential partnership opportunities available right across the region,” added Heuff.

Some of the key focus sessions include developing a competitive, sustainable and future-proof rail network for the GCC; effective interoperability among the new railway systems of the Middle East; integrated public transport for sustainable urban development; traffic management and surveillance; the role of automation in efficient port operations; the use of geo-spatial technologies in port security, plus a series of country transport project updates.

Running alongside the conferences is an exhibition accommodating over 100 exhibiting companies that is divided into four themed zones compatible with the conference streams, plus an extra zone showcasing intelligent transport systems.

The exhibition is likely to attract in excess of 2,500 trade visitors. The exhibition has already attracted key support from the European Parking Association (EPA) and MAFEX, the Spanish Railway Association plus sponsors Laborex and LGW.

This was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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