Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund signs $705mn rail network deal

Project will connect Aqaba’s seaports to a dry port in the Ma’an region

The Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund (SJIF) said it has signed an agreement with Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (Aseza) to develop a rail network at an investment of $705.2 million that will connect Aqaba’s seaports to a dry port in the Ma’an region forming the first phase of Jordan’s nation railway network.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed outlining the form of co-operation between SJIF and Aseza which includes completing thorough technical and feasibility studies, SJIF said in a statement. Once the studies are completed, SJIF and ASEZA would begin project development.

Work includes construction of a new railway line inside the city of Aqaba connecting the southern seaport and container terminal with the existing line and renovating the existing railway line connecting the city of Aqaba to Ma’an. Scope of work also includes procurement of new rolling stock, wagons, and other equipment, and constructing a dry port in Ma’an on 4 million sqm of land.

The railway will operate along a 195 km rail track transporting cargo and containers to and from Aqaba as well as phosphate from the mines in Shidiya to Aqaba for export, once work finishes, it stated.

Hisham Attar, chairman at SJIF said: “As our first major investment in Jordan, we are pleased to sign this MoU aimed at establishing this major infrastructure project. The Fund continues to be committed to pursuing investment opportunities that create value for Jordan and its citizens.”

“We are proud to partner with the SJIF to develop a key transportation project that promises to strengthen Jordan’s logistics offering and drive economic growth,” said Nasser Shraideh, chief commissioner at Aseza. “The Aqaba-Ma’an railway and Ma’an dry port would reduce transportation costs and spur the development of the logistics ecosystem in southern Jordan and could be the first step in the development of a national railway network.”

The statement from SJIF also said that this project is a major public private partnership aimed at enhancing Jordan’s logistics offering by providing more efficient transportation solutions and supporting growth and job creation in the local communities in Aqaba and Ma’an.

The SJIF is a Jordanian public shareholding company set up as a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia and 16 conventional and Islamic Jordanian banks, with PIF having 90 percent stake in the company.

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