The World Rail Market Report forecasts that the growth in the rail equipment market in the MENA region in the period through to 2021 will almost match the pace of Western Europe. This report was produced by Roland Berger and UNIFE, a professional association for the railway supply industry.
Helmut Scholze, Partner at Roland Berger, a global strategy consulting firm, says: “Despite some setbacks and the economic complexities seen in the past year, the rail market is picking up speed in MENA. We predict further investments in rail systems and this will lead to significant, long-term growth in the rail equipment market. The UAE and Iran will be the key growth markets, while Saudi Arabia will stay moderately flat at its current high volume.”
The GCC has $69 billion worth of projects currently under construction. The 15km extension of the Dubai Metro to the Expo 2020 site and the Saudi Land Bridge linking Riyadh to Jeddah are both in progress. Oman Rail is now weighing up plans for the development of a domestic heavy-haul line that will transport minerals from Thumrait to Duqm Port.
In Egypt, the modernization of a metro line and a large order for new metro vehicles is expected in Cairo. For the GCC Railway Project, individual member states are currently assessing the details of continuation of the project as well as domestic alternatives.
“The region is still a very prosperous place as governments continue to realize the social, environmental and economic benefits of incorporating railway and metro systems into the transport infrastructure. The key is to stay connected to stay ahead. We have now established offices in Dubai, Doha and Riyadh, so we can be close to our clients to support them in their upcoming projects as we see stable growth in the market,” Munir Patel, CEO, XRail Group, says in a media statement. Last year, XRail was awarded a key contract to undertake the installation and testing of a remote conditioning monitoring system for Dubai Metro.
Andreas Schwilling, Partner and Global Head of Rail & Mobility at Roland Berger, said: “The private sector’s response to suggested PPPs in the region has been cautious and moderate. A clear demonstration on whether transportation projects can be built and operated in a way that generates the returns required by equity investors will define the future of PPPs in the infrastructure sector in the Middle East.”