Saudi Arabia’s Royal Commission for Jubail & Yanbu is due to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Railway Organisation to develop the first phase of the Jubail Railway network.

US’ Bechtel will provide project management services and supervise the development of the railway and is scheduled to release the first two packages for tender in April, says George Dinic, programme manager for Bechtel. The front-end engineering and design (feed) has already been completed on both the contracts. Together, they will be worth about SR1.9bn ($507m).

The heavy railway is planned to total 195 kilometres in length. The first phase will focus on Jubail I, the existing industrial cluster, eventually linking up to the North-South minerals railway and a railway line that is planned for Dammam. Spurs will serve all of the industries in the city. The second phase will connect industries in Jubail II, which is currently being developed, to the network.

The railway is scheduled to be complete in 2014. The port at Jubail has already been expanded to accommodate growth and five new berths have been added. This expansion allows tankers up to 230 metres long that can carrying as much as 80,000 tonnes of liquid petrochemical products.

Dinic also says that about $2bn worth of contracts are expected to be signed at Jubail Industrial City in 2011. These contracts will cover a wide range of activities, including industrial site preparation, site development, residential site development, construction of pipeline corridors and roads.

Four packages related to the development of Jubail College will be put out to tender in April. These packages will cover the construction of academic buildings and secondary infrastructure.