Saudi Railway Company (SAR) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) to implement the Saudi Landbridge project on the first day of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh.
It is unclear if the Chinese contractor will undertake the entire design, build, finance and operation contract on its own or in partnership with other Chinese, local or international developers, operators or finance companies.
The official Saudi Press Agency said the agreed project value for the railway project is $10.6bn.
The announcement on 23 October came a few months since SAR officials told a conference in Dubai that the tender for the for the scheme, which was to be procured as a public-private partnership (PPP) project, is due to be issued in the last quarter of 2018.
The Saudi Landbridge will link Jeddah on the Red Sea with the capital Riyadh.
Italian engineering design firm Italferr and its local partner Arabian Consulting Engineering Centre (ACEC) completed the design for the Saudi Landbridge project last year.
In addition to the 960-kilometre line linking the Jeddah ports on the Red Sea with Riyadh, the design includes an option to extend the line from Jeddah to Dammam and Jubail.
The scope of the design undertaken by Itaferr and ACEC include:
- Identifying the corridor
- Designing the railway line, permanent way material and all the civil engineering structures, stations, installations for train loading/unloading and container handling operations
- Identifying the signalling (ERTMS level 2 system) and telecommunications systems
- Development of all activities relating to environmental impact
- Obtaining project approval
Saudi Landbridge is one of four major railway projects that were to be implemented by the Public Transport Authority (PTA) as PPPs.
The other three include the electrification of the existing Riyadh-Dammam railway, Yanbu-Jeddah link and Riyadh link.
|Project||Length (km)||Configuration||Capex ($bn)||Status||Period (Project development timeline and start of operations), years|
|Saudi Landbridge||950||Double, non-electrified||7-10||Preliminary design||8-10|
|Riyadh-Dammam Electrification||460||Double, electrified||8-10||Feasibility study||9-10|
|Yanbu – Jeddah (via King Abdullah Port) link||340||Double, non-electrified||0.5-1.5||Feasibility study||4-5|
|Riyadh-Riyadh link and new Dry Port||~40||Double, non-electrified||0.9 – 1.4||Preliminary design||4-5|
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