The project has attracted some of the largest contractors working in the region. Prequalified companies include Arab Contractors (Osman Ahmed Osman & Company)of Egypt, the Nile Corporation Construction Company, a subsidiary of Daewoo Corporationof South Korea, Athens-based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC), Saliniof Italy and Mohammed Abdulmohsin Kharafi & Sonsof Kuwait.

The Atbara-Port Sudan road has a history as troubled as that of the legendary Trans-African Highway, of which it is supposed to be the easternmost segment. Norconsultof Norway was the consultant on the project in the early 1990s, when construction was abandoned after a few weeks due to lack of funds. The World Bank had agreed to finance the road but then suspended all loans to Sudan.