A project to build a rail and road network linking South Iraq with nearby Turkey could cost nearly $17 billion, the official Iraqi news agency said on Tuesday. 

The network will start from Faw Port, which is under construction in South Iraq, and will pass through 10 Iraqi governorates, the agency said, quoting Younus Khalid, Director General of the Public Company for Rail in Iraq, an affiliate of the Transport Ministry. 

The rail project, which involves electric high speed trains for freight and passengers, is expected to cost around $10.5 billion while the 1200-km (725 mile) motorway will cost $6.5 billion, Khalid said. 

“This is a giant and strategic project, the largest in Iraq and one of the largest projects of its kind in the region…it will complement the Faw Port project and will turn Iraq into a major logistics hub,” he added. 

Younus noted that the project would be completed in 2028 and it would largely boost Iraq’s trade with Europe via Turkey.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)