Clients in the GCC region have awarded $17.7bn of contracts on transport projects during first nine months of 2012.

Although governments across the region continue to invest heavily in roads, ports, airports and rail systems, the value of contracts awarded in the first three quarters of this year has fallen by 24 per cent, compared with the same period in 2011.

A total of $23.19bn of contracts was awarded in the first nine months of 2011, rising to just under $28bn of awards by the end of the year.

This year’s figures are on par with 2010, when transport awards of $16.09bn were made in the first nine months.  

So far this year, the UAE has made the largest investments in transport projects, with $5.9bn of contracts awarded. This represents 33 per cent of the total value of contracts awarded in the GCC in the first nine of 2011. Saudi Arabia awarded contracts worth $3.9bn, followed by Qatar with $3.2bn and Oman with $1.5bn.  Kuwait awarded $847m in transport contracts.

Road contracts accounted for the biggest proportion of transport awards made in the region. Contracts worth $7.4bn were signed off, representing 42 per cent of total contracts awarded.

Airport awards accounted for $6.2bn of total contracts, while port awards were valued at $2.2bn. Rail contacts amounted to $594m.

The largest airport award was for the construction of Abu Dhabi International Airport’s Midfield Terminal building. The contract value was $2.9bn and awarded to a consortium comprising of Turkey’s TAV, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and the UAE’s Arabtec Construction.

The contract covers the construction of a 700,000-square metre terminal building, due to be opened in 2017.

The largest port contract was awarded for dredging work on the New Doha Port, granted to local/Belgian Dredging International and Middle East Dredging Company. The contract value was $1.23bn.

For future port works, bids have been submitted for the contract to build the container terminal for the New Doha Port project in Qatar. A joint venture of CCC and the local Teyseer Contracting is the low bidder with a price of QR1.06bn ($291m).

An increase in awards is expected for the rail sector in the coming months and into 2013. Etihad Rail is due to award contracts for construction contracts for phase 2 of its planned rail network. The greenfield Kuwait Metro project is intending to issue tenders for the rolling stock package in early 2013, pending government approvals.

Qatar Railways Company (QRail) has also received bids from contractors for the Red Line North contract for the Doha metro. It is the first in four metro packages, with bids due for the Red Line South, the Golden Line and the Green Line packages in the coming months.

Saudi Arabia will also be investing heavily in its rail network, with bids under evaluation for the planned Jubail-Dammam line. The Saudi Landbridge contract is still due to be tendered and contractors have been prequalified for the Riyadh metro project.