The six GCC countries awarded $8.8bn worth of transport construction contract awards during the first half of 2012, 23.9 per cent more than the $6.7bn awarded for the same period in 2011.

The awards up to the end of June have been supplemented by an additional $2.4bn worth of transport deals since the end of the second quarter.

The UAE has been the GCC’s most valuable transport construction market in 2012, with $3.7bn worth of transport deals having been signed in the first six months of the year. The $2.9bn Midfield terminal contract in Abu Dhabi was the largest transport construction deal awarded in the UAE.

Qatar has been the second most lucrative transport construction market in 2012, with $2.2bn worth of contract awards. The largest award was the QR3.5bn ($961m) deal for the Lusail Expressway project in Doha, which was awarded to South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction. Qatar is set to continue to offer numerous opportunities in the transport sectors in the next 10 years with a $20bn planned road programme and the multi-billion dollar metro project, which is currently out for tender.

About $1.8bn worth of transport projects were awarded in Saudi Arabia, the region’s biggest construction market, during the first half of 2012. However, there has been an additional $1.3bn worth of transport deals since the end of the second quarter as the kingdom pushes ahead with plans to develop its transport links. The biggest transport construction contract award in the kingdom to date was the $800m deal awarded to a consortium led by Turkey’s TAV to build an aircraft maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) facility at the King Abdulaziz International airport in Jeddah.

The kingdom will also offer a lot of opportunities for contractors in the transport market in the coming years. Major upcoming projects include the $7-8bn Riyadh metro, which contractors currently preparing bids, the estimated $10bn expansion of King Khaled International airport in Riyadh and metro projects in Jeddah and Mecca.

More than $700m worth of transport contracts were awarded in Oman in the first half of the year as the sultanate pushes ahead with an ambitious infrastructure development programme. The sultanate has continued investment in its road development programme into the third quarter, with the Transport and Communications Ministry recently awarding the joint venture of Malaysia’s WCT Berhad and the local Oman Roads Engineering Company an estimated RO123.2m ($320m) contract to build the second phase of the Batinah Expressway project.

Out of the total $11.2bn worth of transport construction contracts awarded so far in 2012, $4.8bn have been in the airport and aviation sector, with road schemes not far behind at $4.5bn. In the rail sector, there has been $1.4bn worth of contract awards to date.