Dubai firm plots $3bn Armenia rail, road plans

Investment firm Rasia inks agreement to establish key transport projects in country
By Andy Sambidge
Fri 25 Jan 2013 09:36 AM

A Dubai-based investment firm is to play a key role in establishing a new $3bn high speed rail and road projects in the Republic of Armenia.

Rasia, which has offices in Emirates Towers, is leading a consortium of companies which will work on the Southern Armenia Railway and Southern Armenia High Speed Road Projects, Gagik Beglaryan, Minister of Transport and Communication announced.

He said in a statement that a tripartite memorandum of understanding has been signed between Rasia, South Caucasus Railway, and the Ministry of Transport and Communication of the Republic of Armenia.

The Southern Armenia Railway is set to be a 316km long electrified single track railway, which will connect Gavar, near Lake Sevan, to the southern border of Armenia by Meghri and will be integrated with the existing central railway system of the Republic of Armenia.

It will be operated by South Caucasus Railway and the operating railway system of Iran, the statement said. 

The Southern Armenia High Speed Road, is to be constructed in Armenia's southern province of Syunik, and will be a 110km long expressway connecting the town of Sisian to the southern border of Armenia by Meghri.

Both projects will play a pivotal role in improving regional connectivity and driving economic growth and will create the shortest transportation route from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Gulf, the statement added. 

"When the projects are completed, transport costs and times for the region are expected to improve substantially, fostering greater regional trade and economic growth while dramatically strengthening the Armenian economy," the statement said. 

Under the agreement, Rasia has been given specific deadlines for completing feasibility studies, engineering designs, project financing and construction and are followed by a 30-year operating period, renewable by Rasia for an additional 20 years. 

Joseph Borkowski, chairman and CEO of Rasia, said: "The projects have attracted significant regional interest from both strategic and financial partners waiting to participate in their development." 

He said Rasia is already implementing a consortium-based strategy for the feasibility, design, financing, development and operation of the projects.

Borkowski added that Rasia has recently signed agreements with China Communications Construction Company Ltd to become the lead member of the development consortium.

He said: "Rasia and its consortium members will aim to boost potential local and international transit freight volumes by investing in the development of mineral and agricultural projects. 

"We have already held early stage discussions with China state-owned enterprises regarding potential joint venture investments in mineral and agricultural projects which will have the effect of enhancing the economic appeal of the railway and road projects."

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