2018 a turning point in Makkah region: Minister of Transport


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – The sessions of the Makkah Region Economic Forum started on Sunday. It is being held under the title “From Vision to Accomplishment...Invest in Makkah” under the patronage of Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, emir of Makkah Region and adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, at Ritz Carlton Hotel in Jeddah.

2018 will be a turning point in Makkah region as both King Abdul Aziz airport and the Haramain rail will be opened by the end of the year, said Nabeel Al-Amoudi minister of transport at the inauguration of the Forum.

This, he said, will enhance the capacity and ease transport for pilgrims who will be able to reach the holy Makkah within half an hour. The airport, he said, will be capable of serving 30 million passengers. This month he noted the airport will start with a few numbers of local flights and through 6 gates only, in the fourth and last stage in the first quarter of 2019 the airport will serve passengers through 46 gates. Haramain rail he said has been tested in February and will be ready by the third quarter of this year immediately after Haj season.

In 2017 the ministry has finalized 550 projects with a total value of SR46 billions. For this year they are targeting 144 projects with a total value of SR14 billions. Al-Amoudi noted that the total length of roads network in the kingdom is 68,000 kilometers which are all constructed based on international standers and added that they are willing to expand these projects. The kingdom he added also has 5000 bridges that serve different kingdom regions.

He highlighted that Fas’h initiative he will be announced in the coming few days to ease the port procedures in cooperation with the customs department. The aim is to reduce the waiting time for containers from 12 days to 4 days by the end of 2018 said the minister who was speaking at the opening of Makkah Regio Economic Forum.

He added that they have put a plan to organize the transport sector and have implemented an online service platform. The organization of this sector he said has created 230,000 jobs. Meanwhile, according to him the Saudi railway have provided transport services to one million passengers last year with an increase of 20 percent. New destinations include Hail, Al-Jouf and Al-Qurayat.

He further said they are working with a number of ministries and government agencies on the reduction of car accidents initiative which aims at reducing the number of car accidents by 25 percent by 2020. He added that the traffic safety index has witnessed improvement over the past two years.

Regarding the civil aviation sector, he said they are developing 12 airports and want to focus on retail and entertainment in airports to enhance sustainable funding. The kingdom, he said, has 27 airports which have served 92 million passengers in 2017 with an increase of 7% compared to 2016.

He noted the transport sector is the backbone of the economy as it plays a major role in sustainable development thus it is highlighted in the vision 2030.