New railway line connecting east and west, this time in Iraq

Iraqi port of Faw. Image: Google Maps

A new railway link from the Persian Gulf to Turkey and eventually Europe is in the design phase. The country of transit? Iraq. The country is speeding up the project, as it is well aware of its potential in fulfilling an important role for trade with the southeast.

The project is called the dry canal, which will link the Southern Faw Port, under construction since 2020, with northern Iraq and Turkey. The project involves the construction of new electric railway lines with a total length of 1200 kilometre. This was reported by local media that quoted Yunis Al-Kaabi, Director of the General Rail Company, an affiliate of the Iraqi Transport Ministry. The network will then be connected to rail and road networks in Europe through Turkey with the aim of expanding trade with those countries, Kaabi added.

New port with transit options

Turkey has already been taking position as a major transit country for rail traffic from east to west. It plays an important role on the Middle Corridor, where cargo from China is shipped to the west via the Caspian Sea. Lately, more and more companies are also including ports in Turkey in their network, with rail connections to and from these ports.

When the Southern Faw port is completed, this will add another port option for traffic coming from the southeast. Cargo from India or abroad would have an additional hub in the region, next to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas and the port of Jebel Ali in the UAE.

The Italian company PEG has been charged with carrying out feasibility studies, which will be presented by the end of 2023. The tender for the construction of the first electric railway line is expected to be launched this year as well.

Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is the editor-in-chief of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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