Saudi Arabia has awarded a contract to the French electronics giant Thales for the development of signalling and control system for rail networks in the Eastern port of Dammam, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The Saudi Rail Company (SAR), which is constructing the world’s longest railway, signed the memorandum of understanding with Thales, the French company’s second major rail deal in the Gulf Kingdom in five years.

The Arabic language daily Asharq Al-Awsat, citing a SAR statement, said the agreement also includes “upgrading the efficiency of logistic operations and expansion of rail networks in the Kingdom,”

“SAR has recently signed MoUs with Thales and other international partners with the aim of developing its national transport strategy and logistic services,” it said.

The statement said SAR signed another MoU with France’s Alstom for technology transfer and development of green energy.

In 2017, SAR had awarded a two-year contract to Thales for the maintenance of the signalling, telecommunication and electro-mechanical systems of the Kingdom’s 2,400-km Northern Train project.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)