Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has dropped plans to develop a public-private partnership (PPP) water transport project. The scheme was expected to be the first of its kind in the emirate.

The scheme would have involved the sale of about 29 water buses, ordered in 2007 but not delivered until 2010, to a private sector owner. The new owner would then use them to operate a water transport network along the coastline of Dubai.

Sources close to the project say the idea has not yet been dropped entirely and the RTA could try and sell some of the vessels into other markets, before relaunching a smaller scale scheme in Dubai.

The US’ Deloitte, Australia’s WorleyParsons and the UK’s DLA Piper had been advising the RTA on the project. The RTA invited bids from interested developers last year. It is unclear how strong the response was.

The move is the latest sign that Dubai’s PPP plans are unravelling. In April, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) dropped plans to develop an independent power plant at Hassyan. A plan to develop the Al-Maktoum Hospital as a PPP has also stalled for the past two years after advisers on project completed a feasibility study.