Bidders include Copenhagen-based SvitzerWijsmuller and Abu Dhabi-based Zakher Marine International. The successful bidder will form a joint venture with ADC to provide pilotage services, pilot boats, towage and mooring services; operate tow boats and barges; and oversee the operation of the marine slipway.

The UK’s Fisher Associates has provided marine consultancy services to the US’ BearingPoint, the main transport and infrastructure consultant to ADC. The contract is in line with ADC’s strategy to attract private sector involvement in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZ) and to develop the zone into a regional hub.

Progress is also being made on plans to develop a southern industrial zone in the ASEZ, next to the border with Saudi Arabia. ‘We are preparing the tender documents for a planned ferry passenger terminal with construction costs estimated at $70 million,’ says a project source. ‘Expressions of interest are expected to be issued in the fourth quarter on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) model. Construction of a ferry terminal will be combined with plans for a land border crossing.’

Plans for a southern industrial zone include the expansion of the existing industrial port with a multi-purpose jetty and ferry terminal as well as industrial areas on the plateau above the port area. Facilities at the main port in the north of the zone will be transferred to the south as part of the plans. Royal Haskoning of the Netherlands carried out the masterplan.