• The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) moved 9 million tons of freight last year
  • SAR has plans for an expanded passenger network

RIYADH: Saudi rail chiefs plan to turn the Kingdom into a global logistics hub with an expanded network of commercial and industrial freight services.

The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) already moved 9 million tons of freight last year, delegates to a forum in Riyadh were told. Compared with other means of transport, trains have a lower carbon footprint, cost less, are more reliable and have lower manpower requirements, the forum heard.

“The railway sector is witnessing qualitative growth with added focus on freight,” said Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel bin Mohammed Al-Amoudi. 

“Conditions have been put in place for rail freight to unleash its enormous potential and increase its attractiveness to customers.”

SAR also has ambitious plans for an expanded passenger network, its Chief Executive Bashar Khaled Almalik told Arab News at the forum. “We are growing and growing,” he said.

“We have several projects under construction including a connection to Jubail Industrial City and another to Ras Al-Khair, where we have gone up to the northern borders.

“We are also looking to build the connection between the two networks here in Riyadh and move on, depending on the demands and the needs of our customers.”

Transport Minister Al-Amoudi added: “We have expansion plans and some master plans to be executed within next few years. We are looking at the Saudi Land Bridge Project, which will connect Riyadh with Jeddah.”

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