"The two parties have said they support an examination of the ... feasibility of a use of Transrapid (maglev) technology in Qatar," a statement by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Qatari Prime Minister Shaikh Abd Allah bin Khalifa Al Thani said on Tuesday.

The statement came following the Qatari prime minister's visit to Berlin.

The modernisation of Qatar's transport system and the development of the gas industry in the Gulf state offer "excellent possibilites for projects looking to the future," the statement said. 

Hi-tech

The Transrapid, one of Germany's hi-tech jewels, has suffered a series of local setbacks, forcing several projects to be scrapped.

The product of cooperation between the Thyssen-Krupp and Siemens companies, it only operates on one experimental line, near Bremen in the north.

Abroad, it links Shanghai airport with the city centre and it is reported that Britain is interested in an 800km line linking the north and south of the country.

The sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, California, is said to also be interested in the hi-tech rail system.

The Qatar study could eventually lead to an 800km line through the United Arab Emirates. When in the region in March, Schroeder invited his hosts to take a look at the train.