As construction companies forms consortiums for metro projects the key issue that executives consider when selecting a partner to provide the rolling stock is capacity.
With only a handful of key providers, assessing which supplier needs the work the most is usually best yardstick to use when looking for a winning partner.
For the delivery of Dubai Route 2020 metro link, the incumbent, Mitsubishi, the supplier for the original Red and Green Lines of Dubai Metro completed in 2009 and 2011, was the initial favourite. It delivered and designed the existing network and, having missed out on Riyadh Metro in 2013, looked hungry for new work.
That changed in February this year, when the Japanese firm led a consortium that won the contract to supply the rolling stock and systems for Doha Metro in Qatar. The award immediately raised the question that with a major order already on its books Mitsubishi may not be as keen for new work in Dubai as it was before.
If the companys appetite has waned, it will not be the only one as the regions rail project consume the resources of other major players such as Germanys Siemens, Frances Alstom, and Canadas Bombardier, which are working on various lines of Riyadh Metro.
There is also a plethora of new projects across the region still in the planning and tendering stages, and expected to result in new orders before 2020. Mecca Metro is the most advanced, with contractors and suppliers submitting bids earlier this year.
Other future projects are Jeddah Metro, Medina Metro, Kuwait Metro, and Abu Dhabi Metro. If these projects move ahead, then contractors will have an even more difficult time in the future trying to work out who wants the job most.