Iraq’s Construction and Housing Ministry says it plans to invite six companies to bid for the contract to prepare a transport masterplan for the country.

The ministry has already invited companies to submit prequalification documents by 20 February for the deal. Six companies will then be invited to submit bids at the end of February.

The contract is expected to be awarded in June, says a source at the ministry. It is expected to take 15 months to complete the study from the time the contract is awarded. This means the study should be complete by September 2013.

The masterplan will focus on developing Iraq’s transport sector in a five-year period and will cover railway, roads, airports and port development. A total of $16.7bn will be spent on the transport and communications sector in the country between 2010 and 2014. This figure represents 9 per cent of the total investment of $186bn outlined in Iraq’s National Development Plan.

Some of the major transport projects already under way include preliminary engineering on the Baghdad metro and the construction of Karbalamonorail and Najaf monorail. Other projects under way are the design of the $6bn Grand Faw port in Basra province in southern Iraq and the Middle Euphrates International airport, which is being built between the cities of Karbala and Najaf.