DPA is due to draw up by the end of June a shortlist of about six prequalifiers. Firms following the project are understood to include Pacific Consultants of Japan, Denmark’s COWI, HOK Architects and HHCP, both of the US, and Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, Halcrow, MaunsellConsultancy Services and Mouchel, all of the UK.

In late January, DPA announced a AED 4,200 million ($1,100 million) expansion programme to boost the capacity of Jebel Ali container terminal to 21.8 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2020. The four-phase scheme is intended to meet the long-term growth of the port, which handled 4.1 million TEUs in 2002, up almost 20 per cent on the previous year.

The major projects planned under each phase are:

Phase 1, to be carried out from 2002-05, will include the widening of the existing channel to 325 metres from 235 metres, dredging of the existing terminal’s alongside depth of 17 metres, development of additional berths equipped with 14 super-post Panamax cranes and the construction of deepwater quay walls for mega-vessels;

Phase 2, to be carried out between 2005-07, will call for the extension by 50 per cent of mega berths to a length of 450 metres, construction of additional berths, an automated gatehouse and 10 quayside cranes and associated yard equipment;

Phase 3, to be carried out from 2007-10, will include the construction of four additional berths and 11 quayside cranes with associated yard equipment; and

Phase 4, which will call for the construction of three new giant terminals with total capacity of 12 million TEUs. The facilities are due to be built between 2010-20.

Work on phase 1 is already under way. Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick has been appointed consultant for new deepwater container berths alongside existing berths 22/23. The package will also include the construction of a 1,200-metre-long quay wall and related works.