Kuwait to make rail decision soon

29 May 2016

Feasibility studies have been completed

The Kuwait Authority for Partnership Projects (KAPP) has confirmed it has completed feasibility studies for the Kuwait National Rail Road and Kuwait City Metropolitan Rapid Transit projects.

It will now refer the projects to its higher committee for an investment decision.

The two rail schemes are expected to cost about $2bn and $18.5bn respectively.

UK-based EY led the team carrying out the feasibility studies. It was also the transaction adviser, along with fellow UK firms Trowers & Hamlins as legal adviser and Arup as technical adviser.

KAPP had previously told MEED it would begin prequalification for the rail schemes in the second quarter of 2016.

The national rail will cover 411 kilometres in the first phase. It is planned to connect with the GCC railway via Saudi Arabia, but rail projects in other GCC countries are on hold.

The first phase of the metro scheme will be 23.7km long with 19 stations. The second phase will be 21km long with 27 stations. The third will be 15km with 15 stations.

Both schemes have sought interested companies before. In 2010, the government announced the intention to build these schemes on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis and began prequalification. The PPP plan was dropped in 2013, when the procurement of the projects was moved from the Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB – the predecessor to KAPP) to the communications ministry, on a design-and-build basis.

The adoption of a new PPP law in Kuwait in early 2015 facilitated the revival of the rail and metro schemes. Both have now been retransferred to KAPP.

In December 2015, in a move that shows concrete intention to move forward with the rail scheme, the government asked the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) to take the necessary measures towards delivering the required plots of land for the GCC railway project to the communications ministry. The cabinet is understood to have asked the PAAAFR to “remove all obstacles to carry out this vital project as soon as possible”.

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