In a significant development for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway project, the Sultanate of Oman recently hosted the 25th meeting of the GCC Ministers of Transport and Communications. This assembly marked a crucial step forward in enhancing regional connectivity, culminating in several key decisions. Foremost was the establishment of December 2030 as the target operational launch date for the ambitious GCC railway, which will extend across 2,177 kilometres in the member states.
The railway’s distribution across the GCC countries is as follows: Saudi Arabia will host 695 kilometres, the UAE 684 kilometres, Oman 306 kilometres, Bahrain 64 kilometres, Kuwait 145 kilometres, and Qatar 283 kilometres.
The meeting also ratified the 2024 budget for the GCC Railway Authority. Additionally, three essential bylaws/regulations received approval: “The GCC administrative regulation,” “The financial and accounting regulation,” and “The procurement and storage regulation” for the Gulf Railways Authority.
Engineer Said Hamoud Al Maawali, Oman’s Minister of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology, stressed the transport and communications sector’s vital role in driving economic growth and sustainable development. He underscored its significance in connecting production and consumption areas, ensuring smooth movement of people, materials, and goods, and enabling efficient exploitation of natural resources.
Furthermore, the assembly recommended implementing a unified regulatory framework for ballast water testing on ships at GCC ports, reflecting a commitment to improving maritime operational standards. This initiative is among several regulatory measures aimed at bolstering the region’s transport and communication sectors.