GCC Railway

The G.C.C railway is the long awaited  project by this part of the world, a project that would add to the collection and means of transportation in the area, which would inevitably be considered beneficial for individuals (commuting or transportation) and businesses (freight transportation). Bahrain’s ministry of transportation and communication explains, “The G.C.C Railway is envisaged as a regional integrated inter-operable railway catering to the transport needs of the Gulf Cooperation Council both in the form of freight- and passenger-travel”.

Ever since the G.C.C member agreed on starting the G.C.C railway there has been many changes on the proposed completion dates. Chung, M. (2010) reports “Passengers using a pan-G.C.C railway due for completion in 2017 could be whisked along at 350 kph under a proposal for a super-high-speed network stretching from Kuwait through the U.A.E and on to Oman”.

Furthermore, recent reports have pushed the completion dates up to 3 years ahead and concluding on a completion date of 2020. The reason behind that is the fact that countries other than Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E (who are almost certain to complete their operations by 2018) are not ready or are not capable of meeting the preset target, therefore the completion date has been pushed until 2020.

The main issue here is setting unrealistic and unattainable targets that resulted in the miscalculation of such vital deadline. I personally believe that their studies did not tap into main issues such as the external factors affecting the project’s process including the political unrest that has affected some parts of the G.C.C as well as the recent decline in oil prices that forced G.C.C governments to reduce spending, which definitely will have to effect spending on the joint railway network, and in Bahrain’s case decreasing oil prices will contribute into expanding the country’s government deficit.277433812

A more accurate reading of each country’s ability to contribute to a project worth over $200 billion USD was to be essential, however, as it stands the project is in process and as in the case of many projects however small or big it has to continue in order to reach its predetermined goal unless a significant issue comes up of course.

I have strongly stressed on the inaccurate reading of the completion date of such a regional project, simply because this type of error impacts economic and political issues in the region. For example, worldwide events such as Dubai’s 2020 Expo or Qatar’s 2022 World cup definitely needs the aid of the railway transportation services but more importantly it needs a time-efficient plan that is not constantly delayed, simply because the type of operation of such railway network project reflects the future performance potentials of the above-mentioned events, it reflects economic and political stability in such area which yields foreign investments.

What impact does a delay in the G.C.C railway network have on political and economical development in the region? As soon as the railway network commences what effect would it have on transportation costs? Would the new G.C.C railway network initiate the beginning of a union or confederation in the region, what would be its benefits and/or drawbacks?











2 thoughts on “GCC Railway

  1. This project seems to be similar to the Hijaz railway which was successfully built from Madina in Saudi to Damascus in Syria during the Othoman empire in 1908.That was a 1320 KM rail built between 1900 and 1908. At that time, the major threat to the network was wars and i do agree that this might be another threat for this project as well. The increased terrorism movements in the arab world might find these rails as an easy target. Hence the security over the network might be a long term cost that the GCC governements should worry about. I would yet argue that this railway should not really be a major priority but the utilization of the long sea coast of the GCC by having active ships and ferries to transport passengers in addition to the use of drones, driveless trucks could be a more sustainable and cheaper options.

  2. Thank you Ahmed for your post. I personally believe this will be a great initiative IF implemented, mainly in terms of economic prosperity and stimulating the local business environment. Many, if not most Bahraini entrepreneurs primarily focus on excelling in the region given Bahrain’s rather competitive and small market. Having such fast and redtap-less route will really help elevate the business environment in Bahrain through channeling more tourists due to ease of commuting. Although, I agree with Cesar the GCC countries might set back on this due to security concerns, regardless, I really do hope to see this come to live and will hopefully be one of the passengers on board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *