Project management firms are still waiting for the project management contract for the estimated $7bn Saudi Landbridge rail project to be awarded.

The Saudi Railway Company (SAR) received bids from five firms for the project management deal in May, but the competing firms are still waiting for the client to award the contract.

The five firms that submitted bids in May are:

The Saudi Landbridge is a 950-kilometre-long passenger and cargo railway, which will link Jeddah on the Red Sea coast and the ports of Dammam and Jubail on the Gulf coast, through Riyadh. Tunnels will have to comprise about 70 kilometres of the railway to traverse the mountains in the central part of the kingdom. The Landbridge railway will be able to transport 8 million tonnes of container cargo each year when complete.

The Saudi Landbridge project was first launched in 2005, but has faced several delays due to issues over financing. It was initially planned as a 50-year build, operate and transfer (BOT) scheme financed through debt. In August 2009, the Saudi government decided to fund the scheme on its own after private banks proved unwilling to finance the project.