Saudi Arabia’s National Centre for Privatisation (NCP) has received interest from consultancy firms for the contract to provide technical advisory services for the public-private partnership (PPP) programme for the four urban rail schemes being planned in the kingdom.

Clarification questions are due on 10 September, with the NCP intending to provide answers to these questions by 25 September.

Bids are expected by 1 October.

A contract signing with the selected bidder is expected before end of October and work is expected to commence in November.

MEED understands an extension to the bid date could be granted by NCP.

The urban rail schemes under consideration include the metro and light rail transit systems in Mecca, Jeddah, Medina and Dammam.

Appointing a technical adviser is in line with the announcement made in March by Rumaih al-Rumaih, president of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) and Saudi Railways Organisation (SRO), that the planned schemes, which are at various stages of planning and procurement, will now be developed in partnership with the private sector.

Municipal authorities were overseeing the procurement process for the Mecca and Jeddah urban metro and LRT projects in late 2015, when the Finance Ministry ordered a review of all contract awards in the kingdom, while the metro systems in Medina and Dammam were in design or study stages.

At the time, the construction of the four schemes were expected to be fully funded by the government.