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50-year deal for Saudi rail winner

Government announces financial assistance and lease period as four consortia prequalify for Landbridge rail project

The Saudi Arabian government will let out its US $5 billion (SR18.7 billion) Landbridge rail project for a 50-year period, and provide financial assistance to the winning consortium.

Four consortia have prequailified for the job. These include: the Saudi Bin Ladin Group, which includes El-Seif Engineering and Contracting, Deutsche Bahn, Mitsui and Siemens; Bouygues, which includes Consolidated Contractors Company, CMA CGM, Orascom Construction Industries, Abdullatif & Mohammed Al-Fozan Development and Omran M Al-Omran and Partners; Mada Company, which includes SNC-Lavalin and United Arab Shipping Company; and Public Warehouse Company, which includes Gulf Investment Corporation, Faisaliah Group and Al-Munajem Group.

“The Cabinet approved the general principles for providing government support to the railway project that connects the kingdom’s west with the east,” said Saudi culture and information minister, Iyad Madani.

The project involves construction of 950km of new tracks between Riyadh and Jeddah and another 115km line between Dammam and Jubail.

“We are leading one of the consortia that has been prequalified for the project, and we’re expecting the documents to be out in December, with submission dates to follow about four months from then,” said a spokesperson for Saudi Bin Ladin Group.

“The government has announced that it will give a grant to the winning consortium and that an independent authority will be set up to supervise railway services,” he said.

Khaled Alyahya, president, Saudi Railway Organisation (SRO), said: “I hope the four consortia will make strong financial and technical offers. The Supreme Economic Council’s approval reflected its confidence in the measures taken by the committee and SRO to carry out the project.”

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