By Andy Sambidge
Alkhodari, Lotte Engineering sign deal for bid to build stations, mosques on North-South rail project
A Saudi Arabian contracting company said on Saturday it had signed a joint venture agreement to bid for work related to a major rail project.
Abdullah AM Alkhodari Sons has inked the deal with South Korea's Lotte Engineering & Construction to bid for building passenger stations and mosques for the North-South rail project owned by state-run Saudi Railway Company.
Alkhodari, which will have a 55 percent stake in the joint venture, made the announcement in a statement to the Saudi bourse.
The North-South rail project extends from the border of Saudi Arabia with Jordan to Riyadh, passing through Jouf, Hail, Gassim and Sudair.
The railway will connect the northern region (Hizam Al-Jalamid) to the Hail region allowing the transportation of phosphates and bauxite to Ras Azzur in the northern-eastern part of the kingdom, then on to Jubail to a total length of 2,400km.
Completion of the initial phase of the North-South Railway was announced by Dr Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance and chairman of the Public Investment Fund on May 24.
Trial operations on a 1,392km section of the NSR began earlier this week, with a four-wagon train carrying 200 tonnes of phosphate concentrate from the Ma'aden mine at Al Jalamid to Ras Azzawr port on the Gulf coast, the Railway Gazette reported.
Once full operations get underway, 155 wagon trains will carry loads of 15,000 tonnes, it added.
The rail project is scheduled to open by 2013, with a link to the border with Jordan at Al Haditha in 2014.