Middle eastern nations collaborate on $17 billion Iraq railway project


The Iraqi Minister of Transport, Razzaq Al-Saadawi, engaged in bilateral discussions on Monday with Saudi counterpart Saleh Al-Jasser.

The talks, which occurred on the sidelines of the Sustainable Maritime Industry Conference (SMIC) hosted in Jeddah, saw Al-Jasser affirm Saudi Arabia’s enthusiasm for the railway project linking the two nations, as reported by the Iraqi News Agency (INA).

This project, known as the Development Road, is an initiative of the Iraqi government that involves transforming what was previously referred to as a dry canal into a transportation artery connecting the Al-Faw Grand Port in southern Iraq to Turkish territories through a network of railways and roads.

Stretching an impressive 1,200 kilometers from the southern town of Al-Faw to Faysh Khabur in the northern governorate of Duhok, the Development Road will feature a dedicated railway, accommodating electric trains that traverse ten Iraqi governorates.

Iraqi lawmaker Baqir Al-Saadi revealed that a total of ten countries have expressed their interest in contributing to the Development Road project. These nations, which might include Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, and the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, are drawn by the growing stability and safety within Iraq’s borders.

In March, during a joint press conference with Turkish President Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Sudani emphasized the Development Road’s significance as a global corridor for transporting goods and energy.

The comprehensive project encompasses a railway system capable of transporting 3.5 million tons of cargo in its initial phase, with plans to increase capacity to 7.5 million tons in the second phase. Additionally, the project will feature a highway for land transport, pipelines for energy transport, the Al-Faw Grand Port, and an industrial city set to be one of the largest in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Al-Sudani underscored that the Development Road will not only create numerous job opportunities within Iraq and neighboring countries but also attract global trade and investment, positioning the region as a central hub for commerce and industry.

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