GCC infrastructure projects now worth US$119.6 billion

UAE and Saudi Arabia dominate spending on rail, road and public transportation projects - regional transportation network to be in place by 2020

29 June 2010

According to a recent study by research company Business Monitor International (BMI), the GCC countries will invest over US$119.6 billion in infrastructure projects over the next ten years, of which rail projects account for over 90% of the investment.

"Regional government policy and spending over the next ten years will define the region's transport infrastructure. The amount allocated for investment in rail projects clearly demonstrates the region's strategy for mass transit," said Richard Pavitt, Exhibition Director of the Roadex-Railex exhibition.

The biennial Roadex-Railex event, the largest exhibition for the road, rail and public transport sectors in the Middle East, takes place in Abu Dhabi this year. Transport infrastructure specialist from all over the world will converge on the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 28 - 30 November 2010 to participate in the event which focuses this year on road and rail infrastructure, public transport and parking. 

Leading the Gulf in terms of investment, Saudi Arabia is spending US$25 billion on its rail network adding 3,900 kilometres of track through three major projects.

The first of which is the Saudi Landbridge project, a 950 kilometre railway which will connect Jeddah and Dammam. Secondly the 450 kilometre Haramain high-speed which will connect Mecca and Medina via Jeddah and finally the North South Railway which joins the northern mineral belt with Riyadh and the industrial city of Jubail.

The UAE has already committed US$7.6 billion in Dubai on the Metro (red and green lines) and another US$3.26 billion on several major road projects which is addition to a public-private partnership (PPP) with Italian construction and infrastructure company Salini Costruttori, to overhaul sections of the UAE-Saudi Arabia Highway.  

"In the UAE capital, there are plans for a US$7 billion 131 kilometre monorail track, most of which will be underground. Further funds are budgeted for a high-speed rail link with Dubai, freight rail corridor and new roads all scheduled for completion within the next five years," said Pavitt.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, significant amounts are being invested in infrastructure projects, in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar, notably the US$4 billion Qatar-Bahrain causeway which although currently delayed due to design, financial and technical issues, plans are at an advanced stage. 

"In addition to all of this is the proposed GCC railway project. That alone according to Mohammed Obaid Al-Mazrouie, the assistant secretary general for economic affairs in the GCC, could be worth between US$20 - US$25 billion, which may not account for the extension from Oman to Yemen announced last year. Although unlikely at this stage, the project is scheduled to start before the end of 2011 and would take six years to complete," added Pavitt.   

Running in parallel with the exhibition will be a conference, addressing topical industry issues from planning and finance to development and maintenance. 

For more information log on to 

Roadex Railex is an annual event that takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) on 28-30 November 2010. The three-day event focuses on four key aspects of transport infrastructure, Road, Rail, Public Transport and Parking:

Road infrastructure:

To deliver the emirate's ambitious strategic plan 'Abu Dhabi 2030', the Abu Dhabi government has confirmed substantial investment in the capital city's road transport network. Abu Dhabi is spending more on infrastructure than any other capital in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Over the past three years, Abu Dhabi has investment more than US$5.4 billion on road projects.

Rail infrastructure:

GCC countries to invest US$123.45 billion on road and rails projects over the next 10 years.
Source: Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz), January 2010.

Countries across the Middle East have the highest traffic density and fatality figures anywhere in the world. Traditionally, the region has placed the vast majority of investment in developing road networks. In a bid to deduce congestion, cut travel times and remove reliance on air transport, governments are embarking on a massive investment programme to construct a network of rail systems.

Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries have approved the construction of a GCC wide rail network estimated to cost in the region of US$60 billion. The network will be initially made up of 2,177km of high speed, electrified line carrying trains travelling up to speeds of 350 km/hour.

Dubai has already launched the world's longest, driver-less metro system and Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia plan to introduce metro systems shortly. Over US$109 billion will be spent on regional rail projects over the next 10 years.

Public Transportation:

To encourage GCC residents to shift their heavy reliance on private vehicles, governments are allocating large amounts of investment towards developing sustainable public transport systems.

Transport authorities are also investing heavily in other modes of public transport including public buses and water buses.


The issue of parking has always caused challenges to the countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). With the heavy reliance of residents and visitors on private vehicles, authorities are now investing to increase the amount of parking spaces available.

Abu Dhabi Department of Transport have recently launched Mawaqif as an integral part of their Surface Transport Master Plan (STMP). Mawaqif will provide a world class car parking management system in the capital of the UAE and highlights the Department of Transport's commitment to public and private sector cooperation.

Paid parking initiatives are being introduced across the region to ease congestion and ease the flow of emergency vehicles through cities. Paid parking will be introduced across all 70,000 parking spaces in Abu Dhabi over the next three years.

As public transport systems develop, the introduction of new parking facilities is imperative to channel users to appropriate nodes on the network. Authorities are also seeking innovative technologies to ease the parking process such as the parking system introduced by Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority.


Media contact
Steven Jones
Shamal Marketing Communications
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Tel: +9714 365 2711
Cell: +971 50 455 9769

© Press Release 2010

Trending on Zawya