Russian Railways Unveils Multibillion-Dollar Overseas Projects

Russia’s railway monopoly, Russian Railways, plans to participate in various railway projects worth of total nearly $3 billion in the Middle East and Africa.

The projects will be implemented by Russian Railways’ foreign projects subsidiary of Zarubezhstroitekhnologia (ZST), the head of the subsidiary Yuri Nikolsson said on Friday.

The company has great prospects in the Persian Gulf where the countries of the region plan infrastructure construction worth about a trillion dollars. The Arab countries are going to unite the entire region with a railway chain, Nikolsson told Prime news agency.

As for the concrete projects with the Arab states, the subsidiary is going to bid for a $2 billion railway construction project near the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi. The city government wants to have 700 kilometers of railways to transport mainly cargoes at a speed of 150-160 kilometers/hour.

“It was announced that there should be a railway, railway stations, depots and the entire necessary infrastructure. [According to the project,] the railway must be ready in 2015 and all infrastructures in Abu Dhabi must be completed in 2016,” he said.

Results of the tender will be known in August or September 2012. If the ZST wins the tender, there will be from 150 to 200 Russian engineers working at the project, Nikolsson said.

The ZST also plans to bid for a $3-4 billion light metro chain project in Kuwait, for railway projects in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

“After Dubai built light metro, almost all countries of the Persian Gulf want to do the same,” Nikolsson added.

Projects in Iran

The ZST expects to get an about $250 million contract to electrify a 190 km railway in Iran, Nikolsson said.

“The talks about our participation in several rather interesting projects in Iran are being held. One of the projects stipulates a contract of about $250 million,” he told Prime news agency.

The company’s current projects include electrification of the Tabriz-Azarshahr railway which is almost completed, he added.

African Projects

In Africa the ZST is interested in a nearly $450 million railway project in Kenya.

“One of the projects is construction of regional rail for [the Kenyan capital of] Nairobi. All 2,000 kilometers of railways are needed to be remade. [The Kenyans] still use the railway machinery supplied by the British in the years of colonialism,” the ZST head said.

Other promising railway project worth $20 billion stipulates construction of a logistics hub from the Lamu port through new railways to boards of Ethiopia and the South Sudan.

“The Kenyan government is going to build a mega-port and lay railways to every destination from it mainly for cargo transportation,” Nikolsson said.


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