Jordan has appointed the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as the lead consultant on its flagship rail project to link its two largest cities, Amman and Zarqa.

The private sector division of the World Bank will review the existing technical, economic and environmental studies for the JD236m ($333m) project. The IFC will also assist the committee, formed by the Transport Ministry in August, to oversee tendering of contracts.

The IFC deal will run for 18 months.

The Transport Ministry put the rail scheme on hold in April when it decided to restructure the project after terminating the contract of a winning consortium for the second time (MEED 9:4:09).

The government now wants to award the 28-kilometre light railway as a public procurement project, after abandoning its plan to have the railway built under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) framework.

In April, Kuwait’s Aknan Global and Spain’s Ineco failed to raise sufficient funding for the scheme by the agreed deadline.

In March 2008, the Transport Ministry dropped a consortium of Pakistan’s Infrastructure Development Company and China Railway Engineering Corporation from the project for unspecified “legal reasons”.