- First 127-kilometre of rail network due for completion in 2018
- The $15bn link will form part of the GCC rail network
Construction work on the first section of Omans new rail network is scheduled to start before the end of this year as the review of commercial bids for the construction work continues.
The 127-kilometre line linking Sohar to Buraimi, which is located along the border with the UAE, will form part of the planned GCC rail network.
The project is the first part of the sultanates $15bn national railway project, the last to be announced in the GCC states collective rush to address increasing demand for passenger and freight travel, resulting directly from an expansion in population and economic activities.
Omans proposed national rail infrastructure, which in its entirety is expected to extend 2,135km across mountains and deserts, is one of the most challenging to execute, not least due to the sultanates disproportionate geographical and economic size. Oman has the second-largest geographical size and the second smallest gross domestic product (GDP) in the GCC.
The five bidding groups currently being evaluated by Oman Rail for the first segment include:
- Larsen & Toubro (India) / FCC Construction (Spain) / Khalid bin Ahmed & Sons (local)
- Salini Impregilo (Italy)
- China State Construction Engineering Corporation (China) / SK Engineering & Construction (South Korea)
- Porr Bau (Austria) / Yuksel Insaat (Turkey) / Sarooj Construction Company (local) / Daewoo (South Korea)
- Saipem (Italy) / Rizzani de Eccher (Italy) / Dogus Insaat (Turkey)
Oman is currently prequalifying civils contractors for the second segment of the railway line, which will connect Hafeet, where the first segment ends, to Dhahirah in the northwest of the sultanate. Both segments aim to be operational before 2019.
Seven other packages are currently under study with the civils contracts for each segment due for award between 2016 and 2017.