The benefits of considerable exportation seem obvious, but the toll on transportation infrastructure is often overlooked. Saudi Arabia is countering the strain on the kingdom’s internal systems of transport by investing in a large-scale expansion of its roads and railways. Specialist firms such as Saudi Consulting Co have been utilized to adequately plan the new networks, which have been formulated by the Ministry of Transport in a plan that began in 2002.
Over the next decade, an investment of $100 billion will unite the largest of the industrial cities and the thriving ports on the country’s coastlines. The upgrades will eliminate the current problem of constricted exportation that exists in spite of the 26 airports, expansive network of roads and several ports that the country has already put into place. Interestingly, the movement of people has also placed tension on the transport logistics. The Hajj attracts many thousands of people to Saudi Arabia every year, which has led to plans for a dedicated Hajj terminal in the new port of King Abdullah Economic City.
In addition to this, the two holy cities of Mecca and Madinah will receive large transportation rail systems, using a monorail system to convey up to 20,000 passengers per hour. The joint project will cost approximately $1.91 billion. Other examples of the progression of Saudi Arabia’s transport include the North-South Railway, which will link the Saudi capital Riyadh with other industrial hubs, as well as with new and old ports on the country’s coastline.
The so-far successful trial operation began in May 2011, which is testing a 1.4km track for heavy freight trains. Obstacles such as desert sand covering the rail tracks have been countered with the ingenious use of clay to form banks protecting the rails. Transport by air will not be neglected, with at least two new airports in the pipeline for Prince Abdulaziz Bin Mousaed Economic City and Jazan Economic City, as well as upgrades being made to the current airports. Overall, though the developments may take some time, the investment into Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure will ensure continued profits from the exportation industry in the country, as well as the adequate provision for the kingdom’s numerous religious visitors.