Gulf nations must pin down the schedule for construction of a 1,350-mile railway from Kuwait to the Indian Ocean or risk stalling the project beyond a 2018 deadline, the United Arab Emirates public works minister said.
The six Gulf Cooperation Council countries should agree on a timeframe for building national railways to avoid the project becoming fragmented, Abdulla Belhaif Al Nuaimi said today at a press conference in Dubai. While the U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun work, other nations are lagging behind.
“I expect there will be a delay because some GCC countries didn’t start,” Al Nuaimi said. “The barriers are sometimes not financial. Sometimes it’s about residential areas being situated in the way of the routes. We are calling for a unified program that we can all stick to.”
The $20 billion GCC Railway project seeks to establish a faster and more reliable surface network for moving cargo and passengers between countries that currently rely on sea transport and crowded roads. Gulf transport ministers are due to meet in October to discuss the project, Al Nuaimi said.