Rail operator Deutsche Bahn seals major railway deal with Qatar | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 23.11.2009
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Rail operator Deutsche Bahn seals major railway deal with Qatar

Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state-owned rail operator, has set up a multi-billion euro railway venture with Qatar. DB says it hopes the project will lead to further public transportation initiatives in the region.

A station attendant waves off a train

Deutsche Bahn's railways are not only meant for Germany

Deutsche Bahn (DB) chief Ruediger Grube, along with German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer, travelled to the capital Doha to sign the contracts with Qatar officials.

Grube told reporters afterwards that he was "proud" that Qatar had chosen his company as a partner in the round 17-billion-euro ($25 million) endeavor.

"This ambitious infrastructure project is beneficial in this difficult economic environment, and it will also help us to create jobs here [in Qatar]," said Grube.

Grube went on to say that the Qatar project would open up "great opportunities" to do business across the region, as "over the next two decades hundreds of billions of euros would be invested in infrastructure."

Deutsche Bahn chief Rüdiger Grube and German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer with Qatar officials

Qatar has opened the door to DB

Link to Doha airport, Bahrain

The project entails the creation of a joint development railway company between DB and the Qatar government called the Qatar Railways Development Company. Qatar will be the majority stakeholder with 51 percent, while DB is to hold 49 percent.

German Transportation Minister Peter Ramsauer told reporters after the signing that German companies would be involved in all facets of the project, from "planning the transport system, to building the infrastructure and delivering and servicing the trains."

"Today we opened an important door together with our partners in Qatar," Ramsauer said.

The project is to include a 300-kilometer-long commuter rail system for the one million residents of Doha and a high-speed service to its international airport and neighboring Bahrain over a new causeway.

Seven-hundred million euros are to be invested in the planning of the transport system, with the bulk of the 17 billion euro investment being planned for the building of infrastructure.

For the first four years of the project, DB will provide its chief leadership, with the assistance of 50 engineers and managers from Germany who will relocate to Qatar.

In a statement, DB said it would strive to integrate Qatar workers in the project, promising to provide training to those already involved in the local industry.

glb/AFP/dpa
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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