Possible delay of GCC rail, says UAE Minister
GCC keen on 2018 deadline but Minister of Public Works expects delay
The Etihad Rail project could miss its 2018 target, according to H.E. Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Public Works and chairman of the National Transport Authority.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, he said: “We have aimed for the GCC rail to be up and running by 2018. In last October’s ministerial meeting in Bahrain, we realized that some of the GCC countries would probably witness a delay in their programs. The question was if some of the GCC countries delay their activities, do the rest delay or postpone their works as well?”
The Minister called for a fully integrated program across the GCC, in which a delay will be taken into account in the implementation of any phase.
“We simply cannot finish our network and wait for others to complete their networks,” Al Nuaimi stated. “There are certain networks that we feel we should be doing ourselves in the UAE, like the first stage of the rail in the West coast. That has been completed and will be operating very soon.”
As for the progress of the rail, the Minister stated that UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have already commenced works.
According to Al Nuaimi, the Middle East Rail Congress and Exhibition aims to gather all parties involved under one umbrella in order to address these concerns. The exhibition, which will be held on 4-5 February, will bring together GCC transport ministries to promote the advancement of the GCC rail network, help regional rail operators provide efficient, safe and world class networks and improve the efficiency of logistics networks throughout the GCC.
Issues such as the location of the first phase operations and the length of the networks will also be addressed.
Over 125 companies, representing more than 60 countries, will attend the event.