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BRI points Saudi Arabia's rail network in the right direction

By Quan Zhanfu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-18 15:10
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Employees of China Railway Construction Corp assist passengers at one of the stations on the Mecca Metro Line. Han Xiaolin / For China Daily

Chinese firms instrumental in building major transportation infrastructure

Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China has been collaborating with participating countries on a number of infrastructure construction projects that have benefited local residents.

Over the years, Chinese businesses have played an increasingly active role in projects under the BRI framework, and their depth and breadth of involvement continue to expand.

July 1 saw the end of this year's Hajj, the annual pilgrimage for Muslims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The Mecca Metro, the first light railway constructed and operated by China Railway Construction Corp, a State-owned enterprise, in the Middle East, carried more than 2.15 million pilgrims during the weeklong annual event.

During this year's Hajj, the Mecca Metro service — which started related operations at 4 am local time on June 25 and concluded at 6 pm local time on July 1 — provided 2,208 trips, surpassing the planned target by 131.2 percent.

The entire operation was carried out seamlessly, thereby ensuring the safety, stability and orderliness of the transportation service.

During the pilgrimage, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, Saudi Arabia's minister of transport, expressed his appreciation of the CRCC operations team for its professionalism and the close cooperation of all parties involved in the service.

"I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your outstanding efforts in transporting passengers on schedule," he said.

With a total length of 18.25 kilometers, and with nine stations connecting three holy sites, the railway played a crucial role in transporting pilgrims to and from the sites.

Part of the light rail was constructed by the China Railway 16 Bureau Group, a CRCC subsidiary.

On Sept 11, China Construction News reported that CR16, a pioneering force in contributions to the BRI, not only operates the largest high-end equipment production base in northern China under the CRCC, but has also built an integrated trade network that connects many countries and regions worldwide.

The newspaper added that the company will continue to actively contribute to the BRI as it strives to promote exchanges, cooperation and mutual development between China and participating countries.

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