27 November 2012 07:21 [Source: ICIS news]
DUBAI (ICIS)--The planned Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway network could take over a significant portion of the intra-region petrochemicals trade currently done by trucks, the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) said.
The inter-GCC trade volume of petrochemical products pertaining plastics, chemicals and fertilizers, now stands at above 2.5m tonnes/year, and this is set to grow as new production capacities come on stream in the region, it said.
"Linking GCC national networks and key centers in the Gulf will immediately position the GCC integrated rail network strongly to take over a significant portion of these trade volumes," the GPCA said in a publication released at its seventh annual forum being held in Dubai on 27-29 November.
Totalling about 2,177km, the GCC railway network is expected to be completed over the next 5-6 years, according to media reports.
The proposed railway network will link Kuwait City, traversing along the Gulf, to Muscat in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the GPCA said.
The network includes about 180km of connecting lines to key traffic generators such as ports, airports and industrial cities, it said.
Each of the GCC governments have launched several rail projects, currently worth over $100bn, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE having taken the furthest strides to date, according to the GPCA.
"This strategic infrastructure development will undoubtedly enhance the cross border trade amongst the GCC states and will minimise the use of trucking, thereby reducing the associated pressure on road networks," said Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, secretary general of the GPCA.
The railway network once fully implemented could also enable unrestricted access to alternative ports for global marine exports outside the Gulf region, the GPCA added.
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