EXCLUSIVE: Saudi Arabia considers two rail concession models

08 November 2017
Public Transport Authority expects to invite bids for four mainline rail and logistics schemes next year

Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) is considering adopting two variations of a public-private partnership (PPP) model for the four mainline rail and logistics schemes it plans to tender in 2018.

The concession models being considered are either design, build, finance and maintain (DBFM) or design, build, finance, operate and maintain (DBFOM).

A DBFM model would require an operator to pay the main concessionaire track access charges with minimum traffic guarantees or availability payments. A DBFOM model, on the other hand, can be considered either for the stand alone projects or when bundling two or more schemes together.

The tenders for the four contracts are expected to be released once the financial and technical studies are completed.

MEED understands the studies are being undertaken by US consultancy AT Kearney, which is aiming to complete them in the first half of 2018.

PTA expects to award the contracts to the successful consortium between 2019 and 2020. This will be followed by mobilisation of the projects by 2021.

The four projects and their details are:

ProjectLength (km)ConfigurationCapex ($bn)StatusPeriod (Project development timeline and start of operations), years
Saudi Landbridge950Double, non-electrified7-10Preliminary design8-10
Riyadh-Dammam Electrification460Double, electrified8-10Feasibility study9-10
Yanbu – Jeddah (via King Abdullah Port) link340Double, non-electrified0.5-1.5Feasibility study4-5
Riyadh-Riyadh link and new Dry Port~40Double, non-electrified0.9 – 1.4Preliminary design4-5

Source: PTA

In addition to the Landbridge scheme, the PPP projects also include the electrification of the 460km Riyadh-Dammam rail network, the GCC region’s oldest operating mainline railway.

A parallel project, for the development of urban rail schemes using a public-private partnership (PPP) model, is underway.

The National Centre for Privatisation (NCP) received bids for the technical, financial and legal advisory packages on 12 October and expects to award the contract before the end of 2017.


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