Saudi Arabia seeks private partner for rail operations

Saudi Arabia’s Public Transport Authority (PTA) is seeking a long-term partnership with leading international railway companies and investors to provide passenger and freight services in the country on public-private model.

Boosting private participation in the Kingdom is a key element of Saudi Vision 2030, and the successful partner will operate the existing and future railway network. The country’s network currently consists of 4000km with 2500km now either under construction or in the planning phase.

Railway has been identified as major area that will drive economic growth in the Kingdom as well as position the country as a key logistics hub for the region.

Prospective bidders are encouraged to contact the authority via email privatizarion@pta.gov.sa for more information.

Announced last year in April, Saudi Vision 2030 aims to increase private sector participation in infrastructure including airports, rail, ports, and road development. The program also focuses on healthcare sector in which the private sector contribution will increase to 35 percent up from 25 percent.

Last month, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC), participated in a panel discussion on Vision 2030 and the multitude of opportunities that it presents to businesses across a wide spectrum of industries. Organized by the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations (NCUSAR), the event brought together approximately 100 from the private and public sectors.

Participants spoke on the rationale of the program, its policies and objectives, as well as the role of the recently created Council of Economic and Development Affairs.

The proposed plans under Vision 2030 include government restructuring, privatization, Public Investment Fund restructuring, a strategic transformation of Saudi Aramco, and new strategic partnerships with foreign countries and the private sector. This includes the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, where up to 5 percent of the company will become available for purchase by investors.

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