Minister of Communications Dr. Nasser Al-Salloum, speaking yesterday in Jeddah after opening a shipping conference attended by delegates from thirty Muslim countries, expressed the Kingdom's desire to expand and modernize its transportation networks to prepare itself for an era of free trade once Saudi Arabia is part of the World Trade Organization. In this respect, he made reference to a feasibility study for extending the railway system so that it reaches from the Arabian Gulf to the Red Sea, with another link to the northwest. This project, he said, would greatly benefit the national economy, as well as being of importance both to the Kingdom and to neighboring states.
Meanwhile, a report published today stated that the four-day conference of the Organization of Islamic Shipowners Associations (OISA) will finalize the formation of a shipping company with a capital of U.S. $ 150 million, which will boost maritime trade among Muslim countries. The new company, Bakkah Shipping Company (BASCO), will be based in Jeddah.