Streamlining the procurement of new railways in the GCC will improve the pace of project development, according to Amjad Bangash, managing director of rail at the US firm Bechtel.

Bangash, who works for the UK-headquartered rail division of Bechtel, said that each new rail project in the region seems to develop its procurement rules “from scratch”.

“If this could be streamlined, it would be for the benefit of the whole region,” he told delegates at MEED’s Rail & Metro Summit in Abu Dhabi.

He views the creation of a GCC-wide regional railway as the next big challenge for the region’s relatively nascent rail industry. He recommends that one organisation needs to play a role to coordinate the plans.

“A pan-GCC regulatory body needs to be established and the sooner the better,” he said.

Speaking earlier at the conference, Ramiz al-Assar, World Bank – resident adviser, Gulf Cooperation Council – secretariat-general, told delegates approval for a GCC Rail Authority had been granted this month and consultants would be invited to tender for the study contract next year.