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Connecting to Europe: Iraq plans ambitious transportation project

Connecting to Europe: Iraq plans ambitious transportation project

Iraq has unveiled an ambitious transport infrastructure development plan aimed at turning the country into a regional transport hub. “We consider this project a pillar of a sustainable, oil-free economy, connectivity that serves Iraq’s neighbors and the region, and a contribution to economic integration efforts,” Sudanese Prime Minister Muhammad Shia said in Baghdad today.

1200 km of railway and road

The €15.8 billion project, called “Development Route,” envisions a 1,200-kilometer railway and road from the border with Turkey in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation, the project will be completed within “three to five years”.

Al-Sudani announced the project during a conference with Ministry of Transport officials from Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Iraq’s transportation ministry said each country could “implement part of the project,” referring to further talks.

The infrastructure is largely deserted

After years of wars and in the face of endemic corruption, oil-rich Iraq suffers from a deteriorating infrastructure. The roads are in poor condition, and attacks by the remnants of the Islamic State (ISIS) continue between the capital, Baghdad, and the northern regions.

The expansion of the road and rail corridor will allow Iraq to take advantage of its geographical location between the Persian Gulf and the European continent.

Work has already begun on the Al Faw commercial port to expand capacity there. In the future, container ships would unload their cargo there, which would then be transported via the new roads and railways.

The project also includes the construction of about 15 railway stations along the way, including in cities such as Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, and all the way to the Turkish border.

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