Regional News

Oman Rail evaluates prequalification bids

October 2015

Oman Rail is studying the prequalification bids submitted by leading international railway contractors for the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract covering three key segments of the National Rail Project, said a report.

“Segments Two, Three and Four will connect the ports of Duqm and Salalah to the national network. Also included is an extremely challenging stretch traversing the mountainous terrain between Thumrait to Salalah in Dhofar Governorate, which will require extensive tunnelling, high viaducts and other complex civil structures to implement,” said Nathan Wiles, the general manager (projects).

The project is being carefully planned, structured and executed to deliver long-term and sustainable economic benefits in the form of employment generation, commercial opportunities for Omani companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and in-country value (ICV), reported the Oman Observer.

“Our core driver is to bring economic benefits to Oman, through the introduction of an efficient, low-cost transportation network that aims to connect the regional economic zones. We aim to link Oman’s major ports – Sohar, Duqm and Salalah,” stated Wiles.

In addition to the rollout of a passenger service linking population centres, Oman Rail aims to supplant road-based container trucking through the introduction of rail-based freight transportation, said Wiles.

By moving truck-based haulage from roads to the rail system, traffic safety – an issue of great national concern at present – is expected to improve substantially, he stated.

Furthermore, rail connectivity with ports and free zones will unlock a wealth of commercial opportunities for local companies and the wider economy, he added.

According to Wiles, the project will ultimately contribute to the reduction of Oman’s carbon footprint.

Besides supporting the employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, this Oman Rail venture will soon connect to the GCC railway network and thus bring synergies across the border with the other GCC parties, he added.

On the procurement of key packages of the project, Wiles said the immediate priority for Oman Rail was Segment One – a 207-km-stretch that links Sohar Port with Buraimi on the sultanate’s border with the UAE.

Technical and commercial submissions for this segment are currently under evaluation.

Also of significance is the tender for operation and maintenance services, which is due to close later this year, he added.

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