SJIF and ASEZA Sign an MOU to Develop, Manage, and Operate a Railway Linking Aqaba Seaports to a Dry Port in Ma’an

Aqaba, Jordan – Feb 10th, 2019The Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund (SJIF) and the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a railway connecting Aqaba’s seaports to a dry port that will be constructed in Ma’an, forming the first phase of Jordan’s national railway network. As SJIF’s first major investment in Jordan, the Aqaba-Ma’an railway and the Ma’an dry port project is planned to enhance Jordan’s transportation sector and its capabilities in logistics services.

The MOU outlines the form of cooperation between SJIF and ASEZA to advance the railway and dry port project, which includes completing thorough technical and feasibility studies. Upon completion of the studies, SJIF and ASEZA would commence project development.

The JOD 500 million project encompasses the following components: constructing a new railway line inside the city of Aqaba connecting the southern seaport and container terminal with the existing line, renovating the existing railway line connecting the city of Aqaba to Ma’an, procuring new rolling stock, wagons, and other equipment, and constructing a dry port in Ma’an on four million square meters of land. Upon completion, the railway will operate along a 195-kilometer rail track, transporting cargo containers from and to Aqaba as well as phosphate from the mines in Shidiya to Aqaba for export.

The project is a major Public Private Partnership aimed at enhancing Jordan’s logistics offering through providing more efficient transportation solutions and supporting growth and job creation in the local communities in Aqaba and Ma’an.

Speaking on this occasion, the Chairman of Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund, Hisham Attar, said, “As SJIF’s first major investment in Jordan, we are pleased to sign this memorandum of understanding aimed at establishing this major infrastructure project. The Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund continues to be committed to pursuing investment opportunities that create value for Jordan and its citizens. We are confident that our partnership with ASEZA will serve as a model for effective cooperation between the public and private sectors – a model we hope will demonstrate Jordan’s investment potential, encourage future investments in Jordan, and improve Jordan’s competitiveness, in addition to fostering further cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Jordan.”

Also speaking on the occasion, the Chief Commissioner of ASEZA, Nasser Shraideh, said, “We are proud to partner with the Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund to develop a key transportation project that promises to strengthen Jordan’s logistics offering and drive economic growth. The Aqaba-Ma’an railway and Ma’an dry port would reduce transportation costs and spur the development of the logistics ecosystem in southern Jordan and could be the first step in the development of a national railway network.”

The CEO of the Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund, Omar Alwir, explained during the signing ceremony that the investment in the railway project is made in accordance with the Jordan Investment Fund Law number 16 for 2016, and that SJIF’s investment strategy revolves around building a diversified portfolio along three key tracks: investing in large infrastructure projects; pursuing investments in key economic sectors, such as healthcare, information technology, and tourism; and participating in the growth acceleration of established Jordanian companies by providing growth capital.

The Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund is a Jordanian Limited Public Shareholding Company formed in 2017 as a partnership between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which owns 90% of the company, and 16 conventional and Islamic Jordanian banks, which own the remaining 10%. The company was registered per the Jordan Investment Fund Law number 16 for 2016, and its formation is an outcome of the Jordanian Saudi Cooperation Council and the MOU signed between the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and the Jordan Investment Fund on August 25, 2016.