Jordan’s Transport Ministry is in discussions with banks for the financing of Jordan’s $3bn railway project.

The ministry’s potential financiers include the European Investment Bank, the Agence Francaise Development and the World Bank, as well as GCC-based investment funds.

“We cannot move ahead with the tendering. The issue is financing. We were hoping by this summer to sort out all financing problems, but unfortunately it looks like we need more [time]. The next three months are crucial for financing. Talks are under way,” Mohannad Qudah, Jordan’s Transport Minister told the MEED MENA Rail 2011 conference on 20 September.

The main railway line will run 900km from Aqaba port to the Syrian and Iraqi networks. There is also a planned connection with North-South railway in Saudi Arabia.

The plan for the railway is to create a dry Suez Canal to Europe from Jebel Ali, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.

The connection with Iraq will allow it access to the Red Sea at Aqaba.