By acceding to OTIF as an Associate Member, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is making early preparations to achieve optimum use of the railway network, currently construction is planned to commence med 2011 and completed by 2014 and covering around 950 km, particularly by taking part in the ongoing work within the Organization on technical interoperability and facilitation in rail transport.
As a transit country, Jordan is therefore taking account not just of the major amounts of trade from the Port of Aqaba on the Red Sea towards Saudi Arabia, Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Iraq and Syria, but is also closing the gap between the Red Sea westwards to Europe, via Turkey, and eastwards to China.
The Jordanian Railway Network will effectively create a new efficient corridor between Europe, Middle Eastern and GCC countries. The project was approved as a priority on the Union for the Mediterranean Initiative and as a major component of the Euro-Med Transport Network.
The infrastructure programme, with investments totalling 2.6 billion Euros, is part of the Arab Mashreq International Railway Network project adopted in 2003. The Secretary General of OTIF in Berne, Stefan Schimming, and the Minister of Transport of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Alaa Batayneh, emphasised that “this early association will lay another fundamental building block for the uninterrupted international transport of passengers and freight by rail. This is a clear commitment to the future performance of carriage by rail geared to transcontinental requirements based on the contractual conditions for international passenger and freight traffic described in the Uniform Rules, which are prepared by OTIF”.
The body of regulations developed by OTIF also includes provisions for the carriage of dangerous goods, contracts for the use of wagons, the contract on the use of railway infrastructure, the validation of technical standards and adoption of uniform technical prescriptions for railway material and the procedures for the technical approval of railway vehicles for use in international transport.
As the 46th Member State of OTIF, Jordan will in future also be able to contribute to these areas of work.