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Iraq: Malaysia consortium secures metro, railway consultancy; Qatar, UAE compete for tenders

February 14, 2024 at 1:22 pm

Aerial photographs of the city of Baghdad, Iraq December 25, 2018 [Getty]

A Malaysian consortium has secured contracts for Iraq’s inaugural elevated metro system in Baghdad and a planned express railway linking the shrine cities of Karbala and Najaf. The consortium formed by HSS and CHSS was awarded consultancy contracts for two large-scale infrastructure projects.

It was clarified today by the Iraq News Agency that the consultancy fees for the projects will be paid by the developer, and not the government, so the financial burden of the projects does not fall on the shoulders of Iraqi taxpayers.

Meanwhile, contractors and developers from Qatar and the UAE are competing for tenders for the metro project. Bidding for the $2.5 billion project began on Monday, alongside another planned rail line linking the shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala, said Nasser Al-Assadi, a transport adviser to Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani.

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“The two projects will be offered as an investment,” he told the Iraqi News Agency on Sunday, adding that “Those companies are from several countries, including Qatar, the UAE, China, Italy, Spain and Japan…after the investors are selected shortly, we can set a timetable for the completion of the two projects.”

Last week an adviser to Al-Sudani, Fadi Al-Shammari, said on X that despite the challenges the country is facing, the government is determined to continue the reconstruction process and transform Baghdad and the provinces.

“Announcing the Baghdad Express Metro project, which includes 7 lines and 14 stations, with a coverage area of ​​up to 85% of the capital and a capacity of 3 million passengers per day,” he said.

According to Metro Report International, the National Investment Commission (NIC) has begun procurement for the two contracts to design, finance, build, operate, maintain and transfer the metro network in Baghdad and the Najaf–Karbala railway. The metro network will be 150 kilometres long and consist of 64 stations to serve most of the city, including the suburbs.

The two projects are expected to significantly reduce traffic congestion, NIC President Dr Haider Mohamed Makkiya said when the plans were announced on 12 February.

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