“Route of development”: Iraq is pumping billions into routes across the country

“Route of Development”
Iraq is pumping billions into pipelines across the country

After years of war, the infrastructure in Iraq has been massively damaged in large parts. Also in preparation for the post-oil era, Baghdad now wants to build a railway and a rail line across the country. The orders are expected to go to more than a dozen states in the region.

Iraq has unveiled an ambitious transport infrastructure development plan that aims to transform the country into a regional transport hub. “We see this project as a pillar of a sustainable oil-free economy, a link that serves Iraq’s neighbors and the region, and a contribution to economic integration efforts,” said Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

The approximately 15.8 billion euro project called “Route of Development” envisages a 1,200-kilometer rail and road route from the border with Turkey in the north to the Persian Gulf in the south. According to the Iraqi Ministry of Transport, the project should be completed in “three to five years”.

Al-Sudani announced the project during a conference with representatives from the transport ministries of Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. Each country could “execute part of the project,” Iraq’s Ministry of Transport said, referring to further talks.

Oil-rich Iraq suffers from deteriorated infrastructure after years of wars and in the face of rampant corruption. Roads are in poor condition and attacks by remnants of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist militia continue between the capital Baghdad and areas to the north.

Work has already begun in the commercial port of Al-Fau to expand the capacities there. In the future, container ships will unload their cargo there, which will then be transported onwards via the new road and rail connections. The project also includes the construction of around 15 railway stations along the route, including in cities such as Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and along the route to the Turkish border.

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