SRO likely to chug its way into history

RIYADH — The Ministry of Transport is considering to liquidate the Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) and transfer all its assets to the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) so as to cut down expenses, local daily Al-Watan reported on Wednesday.

Chairman of the Public Transport Authority Rumaih Al-Rumaih said the project will be gradually accomplished until SRO is totally liquidated. “The railway bodies in the Kingdom must all be amalgamated into a single entity,” he said.

Rumaih noted that the Kingdom, which occupied the 37th place in the world regarding railway services in 2014, has fallen to the 52nd place this year.
“We do not have an integrated network of railways and do not also have complete areas of logistics,” he said.

Rumaih said the Kingdom is a link for three continents and that its unique geographical location must be utilized as it represented an integral component of the Vision 2030 especially that about 30 percent of the world trade passes through the Red Sea.

“The Kingdom’s seaports are located along the major trade routes,” he added.

The Saudi Railways Organization (SRO) is one of two state-owned companies that operates Saudi Arabia’s rail network.

The SRO operates a network of railways with a total length of approximately 1,380 kilometers. The network consists of two main lines connecting King Abdul Aziz Port in Dammam with Riyadh, and the city of Dammam with Riyadh.

In addition, some auxiliary lines branch from SRO’s main lines connecting some industrial and agricultural areas and military sites with export ports and residential areas.

The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) operates the 2750-km north-south railway line and a passenger line from Riyadh to Al-Haditha. SAR was established in 2006 to build, operate, and manage the north-south railway project.