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Case Study

Saudi Arabia railway rail traffic analysis

railway track

Advisian was hired to carry out an analysis of the traffic potential for a branch line connecting King Abdullah Port and the proposed Saudi Landbridge and to validate traffic projections and related assumptions related to the port development.


Advisian’s scope of work included:

Volume Validation:

  • Understand the macroeconomic growth of KSA.
  • Focus on import volumes in this study, assuming empty repositioning and backhaul export volumes will reverse route.
  • Quantify the existing volume of imports at each KSA Port, the existing volume of imports from non-KSA Ports, and the freight volume going to the three KSA regions:  East, Central, and West.
  • Use ship route analysis to show how imported goods will likely enter KSA in the future.
  • Calculate total import volume to King Abdullah Port by type of freight.
  • Show the expected distribution of container imports by KSA region.
  • Determine the future volumes of freight from King Abdullah Port that will use the Landbridge Quantify the cost and service of truck and route options and estimate modal split between truck and rail: to Riyadh and to Dammam/Jubail.

Feasibility Validation:

  • Determine throughput capacity TEU per year of King Abdullah Port’s planned rail yard
  • Prepare a preliminary analysis of the project economics to construct the railway branch line: Investment cost vs. economic development impacts; costs and benefits of using the railway vs. highway; calculate IRR to recoup investment in 10, 15, and 25 years


This study demonstrated to Saudi officials that a railway branch line connecting King Abdullah Port to the new Saudi Landbridge railway is a necessary and economically viable proposition.  The study provided an economic forecast of future freight volume that will utilize the Landbridge railway.