Seven companies have bid for a project to act as consultant for the estimated $10 million Khasab port project.

They are: Han Padron Associates of the US’ WS Atkins of the UK, the local Ibn Khaldun, the local branch of Lebanon’s Conser, Italy’s Renardier & Partners for Engineering Consulting, and Esait Estude and Consulting Engineering Services (CES), both of India.

The lowest bid came from CES at RO 206,626 ($536,691), followed closely by Han Padron’s alternative bid of RO 256,498 ($666,229). The highest bid was submitted by Renardier at RO 575,371 ($1.5 million).

Contractors expect the technical review of bids to have a bearing on the award of the contract.

A surge in trade with Iran, located just across the Hormuz strait from Khasab, has meant that the existing port has become too small. The selected consultant will be expected to conduct a thorough study looking at the full development of the port and its hinterland. Two locations for the development will be studied, one at the existing site and one on an adjacent site.

The new port will have a maximum draught of eight metres and will be large enough to host cruise liners and feeder vessels. The invitation to prequalify for the main construction package is expected to be issued by November. Applications for funding have been made to the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (MEED 18:8:00).