The Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund (SJIF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) to invest more than $700m to build a rail network in Jordan.

The network will connect Jordan’s port city Aqaba to a planned dry port in Ma’an.

Once developed, the public-private partnership (PPP) project will form the first part of Jordan’s national railway network, bolstering transporting capabilities of the country.

The MoU signed between the two entities provides a framework to the rail project and encompasses preliminary technical and feasibility studies

After the completion of the studies, SJIF and ASEZA will advance with the project.

“The fund continues to be committed to pursuing investment opportunities that create value for Jordan and its citizens.”

The overall project includes building a rail line in Aqaba between the southern seaport and the container terminal connecting with the existing line, as well as rehabilitating the existing railway track from Aqaba to Ma’an and building the dry port.

It also includes the acquisition of rolling stock, wagons and other associated equipment.

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The 195km rail line will be used to transport cargo from and to Aqaba. It will also be used to deliver phosphate from the mines in Shidiya to Aqaba for exports.

SJIF chairman Hisham Attar was quoted by TradeArabia News Service as saying: “As our first major investment in Jordan, we are pleased to sign this MoU aimed at establishing this major infrastructure project.

“The fund continues to be committed to pursuing investment opportunities that create value for Jordan and its citizens.”

Established in 2017, the Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund is a Jordanian Limited Public Shareholding Company. The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia holds a 90% stake in the company, while the remaining 10% interest is with 16 conventional and Islamic Jordanian banks.