Tenders are due to be invited soon for the Dinars 53m ($US 75m) project, which involves constructing a new 22.5km standard gauge single-track line from the phosphate mine at Eshidiya to join the existing Aqaba Railways Corporation (ARC) line south of Ma'an. ARC's 1050mm-gauge line from Ma'an to Aqaba will be converted to dual gauge and extended to a new transhipment terminal south of Aqaba, which will serve the port's relocated export terminal.

The initial phase will be financed in part by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) through a $US 5bn development package for Jordan agreed by its members last December. As part of this, Kuwait transferred a $US 250m grant to the Jordan Central Bank last month. According to the Jordan Times, Kuwait is expected to contribute around $US 80m towards the national railway network and $US 110m to the planned Amman – Zarqa light rail project.

The total cost of building the national network is estimated to be around Dinars 1.9bn.