Rail Network for GCC Now Scheduled for Completion in 2021

The Minister of Infrastructure Development in the United Arab Emirates has reportedly said that more delays were likely depending on the rail network for the GCC.

Plans for a railway network that links the Gulf countries has not been pushed to 2021 or three years later than scheduled and might face even more delays.

Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi the UAE Minister reportedly said the decision to push the deadline from 2018 to 2021 had been taken in April at a transport ministers meeting.

He said that the ministers knew at the time it would not be possible to finish the railroad by 2018 but a ceiling on the time was not available and now is.

The minister said further delays could take place depending up how badly each of the member nations wanted the railroad completed.

The target date that was agreed to in principle is 2021, but whether that can be possible to achieve or not is another story, as each country involved will influence that date.

In January, the Etihad Rail in the UAE announced it was suspending its tendering of the second part of its network, which would have linked with the borders of Oman and Saudi Arabia. That forced the Oman Rail to revise its plans, which are now focused on the linking of key mines and ports.

However, many have felt that the 2018 deadline had been unrealistic to meet even before now.

Al Nuaimi said the suspension by the UAE Etihad Rail was logical as you cannot just build your part and then wait for the other to start theirs.

However, he added that the country would not wait necessarily for the other nations prior to completing its own projects.

Gulf Cooperation Council states expect to decide in 2016 or the latest 2017 if the deadline of 2021 can be achieved.

For the UAE, says Al Nuaimi we want to see a fully completed network before the end of 2021, but we only are a small part of reaching that deadline. It is an overall decision that comes from all the GCC states if they are really in agreement with making it happen.

For now, each of the member states are carrying out their own development and when they meet later this year or early in 2017 they will decide if the railway network will actually be completed in 2021 or at all.

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