Middle East

New national rail project in Oman will boost ports

Muscat: Oman’s new national rail project will boost the country’s ports sector with more cargoes, the Port of Duqm Company (PDC) says.

A proposed rail network passing through Duqm will take a more interior route through oil and mineral fields, rather than a coastal route, making it easier to get cargo to market. The network is still in its design stage.

Rien van de Ven, CEO of PDC, told press the new rail route would open up a point of entry into the port for minerals such as limestone, silica sand, dolomite and gypsum.

De Ven said crude oil is likely to flow directly into the port by the end of 2017 while a refinery will be fully operational by mid-2018.

Segments of the rail line look likely to be tendered by mid-2015, de Ven told press. The earliest possible construction start date would be in the end of 2015.

The rail network will eventually connect Salalah, Duqm, Muscat and Sohar and potentially the rest of the GCC.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) has confirmed that its priority is cargo, rather than passengers, in developing the new network.

Road infrastructure is also being upgraded. Existing road networks connecting to Duqm are being improved. The Nizwa-Sinaw-Duqm road upgrade project will be completed by mid-2015, while work on the Haima-Duqm road will start in the beginning of 2015. In 2019, work will begin on upgrading the Duqm-Salalah road. [20/10/14]

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