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GCC Railway Authority to be set up by 2014 to oversee rail projects

Towards the year end, the Gulf States will decide about policies on customs and immigration for expatriates residing in the Gulf, and commuting via the planned GCC Railway.

At present, they are taking into account the immigration policies about how expatriates could commute from one Gulf country to another via the integrated railway system, said Ramiz Al Assar, Resident Adviser at GCC Secretariat General, World Bank.

Speaing during the Middle East Rail Conference, he said that one of the options under consideration is the country of origin from where the expats are travelling from within Gulf.

The customs issue is a major challenge that Gulf countries have been facing in the project, with cross-border points, security, customs, smuggling and immigration for expats being some sensitive issues that Gulf States need to deal with.

In the month of April this year, tenders will be awarded for the proposed $4.5bn causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as part of the GCC Railway network, Ramiz Al Assar.

A GCC Railway Authority may be established by 2014, to co-ordinate and organize with Gulf States for implementation of rail projects, he added.

A proposal to study the move will take place in a year’s time.

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