The Gulf’s road building schemes may not enjoy the high profile of the region’s rail and airport investment programmes, but the trend for Gulf states to spend millions of dollars on new highways is a sign that they are taking the business of building a better basic infrastructure seriously.
The region’s first public-private partnership for a road-building project is in the UAE, in the form of the Mafraq-Ghweifat highway from Abu Dhabi to the UAE border with Saudi Arabia. To the north, in Kuwait, a series of road-building schemes are under way as the government addresses the need to upgrade the country’s ageing infrastructure. The roads investment programme includes major highways linking Kuwait’s border in the east with the Saudi border in the west, as well as new local roads and roundabouts to ease the flow of traffic in Kuwait City.
Improved roads will also help Kuwait’s ports sector. Goods unloaded at the twin ports of Shuaiba and Shuwaikh will reach their destination quicker with faster, wider highways to the rest of the GCC cutting transport times.
Air transport is also a vital part of the region’s transport sector. With the Gulf’s air freight sector having grown in 2009, despite a global slump in the volumes of freight transported by air last year, the statistics show the region is becoming increasingly important as a transport hub.
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