Representatives of the Spanish rail industry are currently visiting the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Saudi Arabia in a trade delegation organized by the Spanish Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Equipment and Services for the Railway Industry (MAFEX)in collaboration with the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX).
The delegation is made up of fifteen companies including engineering and consulting services companies, and others dedicated to the transformation, distribution and sale of rail materials, technology systems and information systems.
The visit agenda includes a round of interviews and meetings with political and business leaders aiming at a stronger cooperation in rail matters.
Spanish companies have showed their interest in participating, among others, in such new infrastructure projects as the Gulf Rail network connecting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman.
Also, this delegation aims at showing the technological experience of the Spanish rail industry, and at opening new business lines.
The Emirates: a destination with great perspectives
It is through constant innovation that Spanish rail companies are growing together with such expanding markets as the United Arab Emirates, where they are willing to export their know-how. To that end, the delegation of Spanish companies will get together with the most relevant institutions of the country in terms of railways.
To be highlighted is the fact that in this country a new mixed 1,500-km line is planned to be built for high-speed services at 200 km/h and for freight transport. According to schedule, works are due to be completed by 2019.
This trade delegation aims at being a starting point for taking part in future tenders for the construction and place into service of the new line.
Oman: A rail network at full development
The Spanish rail industry is also searching for new markets in Oman, where the Government’s infrastructure plans are willing to enlarge public transport networks.
In this case, the round of visits planned will start at Oman’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It will continue with several meetings with local companies to study the possibility of cooperation in rail projects.
One of the country’s most ambitious projects is the four-phase development of a rail network. The first phase includes a 1,400-km line that will cross the country from north to south. In the second phase, lines connecting with Abu Dabi, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and Yemen, will be built.
The two contracts put out to tender (supervision and design consulting services; services and project management consulting)have attracted more than one hundred local and international engineering companies, the Spanish companies among them.
Saudi Arabia: High Speed as a Priority
During the visit to Saudi Arabia, the members of the Spanish delegation will meet in Dammam with representatives from different administrations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, and the Royal Commission from Jubail and Yanbu. In Riad the meetings scheduled will be with the Arriyadh Development Authority, the Saudi Railway Company (SAR), and the Saudi Railways Organization, all of which are in charge of development programs and rail networks.
With this trade delegation, the Spanish rail industry wants to strengthen its presence in Saudi Arabia, where such new lines as the high-speed network between Medina and Mecca are planned. A Spanish consortium headed by Adif, Talgo and Renfe are among bidders.
This new high-speed line, the so-called “pilgrims train”, will connect Islam’s two holy cities, visited by a 2.5 million congregation each year. The network will link Mecca and Jeddah in half hour, and it will reach Medina in two more, at a speed of up to 300 km/h.
The contract is valued at 10,000 million euros. Half of the budget will go to the network construction and to the acquisition of rolling stock. The rest will go to the award of contracts for the operation and maintenance of the line during twelve years.
On the other hand, this is not the first time that the country’s rail authorities trust Spanish technology, considering our industry as a leading point of reference. In 2008, the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) awarded Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF) the supply of eight train units, each one made up by a locomotive and five cars, as well as their maintenance for a four-year period.