The imminent appointment of contractors for the first packages on the Doha metro project shows that Qatar is serious about delivering on its ambitious $70bn infrastructure programme.
Qatar surprised the world in late 2010, when it was selected to host football’s World Cup in 2022. For a country with a population of less than 2 million, the task of hosting the world’s largest sporting event seemed an almost impossible dream.
As the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, Qatar can afford to fund its extravagant infrastructure plans. In addition to comprehensive transport and logistics infrastructure, Doha will be required to build nine new stadiums and up to 90,000 hotel rooms. With the economics taken care of, the major problem that the country faces is delivering all of the planned projects on time.
After two years with little progress, 2013 is the year that Doha needs to start pushing ahead with projects. As one of the most technically challenging projects planned, construction work on the metro must begin now.
In recent years, Doha has had the unwanted reputation for inefficient tendering processes, contractual disputes and slow delivery of projects. With the World Cup now less than 10 years away, Doha needs to ensure that it overcomes the problems that have plagued its projects market in the past.
So far, the tendering process for the metro has been impressive. Bids were submitted for the initial packages in late 2012, and due to the complexity of the projects an imminent award on the first major packages will mark an efficient process. Qatar Railways Company (QRail) appointed project managers for the first packages in August last year, which will ensure contracting consortiums are able to start as soon as they are appointed.
While Doha’s progress with its metro programme has been impressive so far, it is only the beginning. It is vital that clients, consultants and contractors keep the good work going