A number of major economic, industrial and logistics hubs planned for development in the Dhahirah, Sharqiyah and Wusta governorates of the Sultanate will be connected to the Oman National Railway Network, according to project officials.
Rail connectivity with these proposed industrial parks will help attract infrastructural, industrial and commercial investment in and around these hubs, thereby positioning them as new growth poles for Oman’s long-term economic development, say experts.
Alignments already approved by Oman Rail, the national rail company overseeing the implementation of the national rail system, will see the network skirting an area earmarked for the development of a mega economic hub in Dhahirah Governorate. The project, dubbed the ‘Dhahirah Economic Zone’, is proposed to the linked by rail when Segments 2 and 3 of the national network are taken in hand for implementation.
According to authorities, connectivity between the Dhahirah Economic Zone and the national network will be provided by a 126 km line that runs south from Ibri to the site of the hub. This stretch will be undertaken during Segment 2 of the rail project. A further 116 km stretch will link the Dhahirah Economic Hub with the rail line at Ghaba, with construction envisioned during Segment 3 of the rail project.
Similarly, a new industrial park planned by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) at Al Mudhaibi in Sharqiyah North Governorate is also expected to be linked to the rail network. Connectivity with the network is planned during Phase 3 of the Oman National Rail Project when linkages between Duqm, Sinaw, Ibra and Misfah are executed.
Al Mudhaibi will host, among other projects, a major bus assembly plant planned by a partnership of the Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Omani government, and Mowasalat (Karwa), the national transport company of Qatar. The $160 million project will have a capacity to produce around 2,000 buses annually.
More recently, PEIE announced that it has medium and long-term plans to set up a string of new industrial parks in locations that include Thamrait, Haima, Barka and Al Suwaiq, besides the oil producing areas of Marmul and Fahud all of which, coincidentally, are also located along the alignment of the Oman National Railway Project. Rail connectivity with these proposed hubs will be a key value proposition that will underpin their long-term success, it is pointed out.
The 2,135 km national network will be implemented in nine separate segments covering the length of the Sultanate. Conceived as a double track network, the diesel-powered freight and passenger line is proposed to link populated areas, ports, industrial zones, mining clusters and other economic centers — current and future — of the Sultanate.
Oman Daily Observer