Iraq has received bids from 30 foreign firms to build a 1,200-km rail line that will link the Southern Faw Port with neighbouring Turkey, an Iraqi official has said.

The project also involves the construction of a parallel motorway and is expected to be completed in 2028, said Yousuf Al-Kaabi, manager of the Public Company for Rail in Iraq, a subsidiary of the Transport Ministry.

He told Iraq’s Shafaq News Agency in comments published on Tuesday that the rail line would link directly to rail networks in Turkey and Europe.

“30 foreign companies have submitted bids to the government for the project to build the rail lines from the South to North Iraq,” he said.

Kaabi noted that the network would have a capacity for 100 trains a day and that 12 hours would be dedicated for freight trains and 6 hours for passenger trains.

Officials said last week that the rail-road project, part of post-war development plans, could cost nearly $17 billion.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)