Focus on Rail Industry
6:02 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Galesburg Trade Mission to Middle East

The rail industry is big in west central Illinois, and rail lines are being built in the Middle East.  So the City of Galesburg will try to bring the two together.

The city will lead what it’s calling a Railroad Trade Mission to the Sultanate of Oman to learn more about the Oman Rail Project.

“There’s a lot of rail going on there and that kind of piqued my interest,” said Gary Camarano, Global Strategies Director for Galesburg.

A BNSF freight train
A BNSF freight train
Credit Wikipedia

“We’ve got quite a rail industry cluster here in Galesburg and in Illinois, and so to me this made a lot of sense to get our companies involved and learn more about the project and potentially get some business.”

He said the 4,000 kilometer Oman Rail Project is part of a larger plan to build rail lines connecting Oman with Kuwait and to eventually link the Middle East with Africa, Asia, and Europe.

The trip will take place February 23 – 27. Camarano said businesses such as Koppers, Astec Mobile Screens, and National Railway Equipment are among those that will participate.

“Between the supply chain and the actual manufacturers of this equipment, we do have a lot of railroad industry businesses here in west central Illinois,” said Camarano.

Camarano said he met with several dignitaries during the recent Oman Business Forum in Chicago, which is when he learned about the rail projects in the Middle East. This month’s trip grew out of those meetings.

He said the planning phase for Oman Rail Project has been completed and construction could begin late this year. He said right now project managers are looking for vendors to supply the products needed for the work, “…and basically they need everything from A to Z.”

He anticipates some companies will leave Oman with contracts in hand, while others will make the contacts needed to eventually land deals.