Oman’s ambitious plan to link the country with a 2,000km-plus rail network is on track, with Oman Rail this week inviting international tenders for key elements of the project.
According to a report in the Oman Tribune newspaper, the tenders are seeking consultants for a range of operations including infrastructure, maintenance, management, railway facilities, a mass transit system and services associated with mines and ports.
The project was originally part of the GCC rail network plan, but this was put on hold last year when falling oil price levels forced the UAE’s Etihad Rail to suspend the second phase of its network connecting Oman’s border.
However, the Sultanate has continued with its plan to connect the country via a 2,135km rail network and link the major ports of Sohar, Duqm and Salalah.
The current tenders require expert consultants with a minimum of 15 years’ experience in the sector, while a December 12 deadline has been set.
Oman Rail is a subsidiary of Oman Global Logistics Group and is responsible for the building and development of the network – a major part the Sultanate’s transport and logistics plan.
In May this year, railjournal.com reported that Mohammed al Shuaili, the director of the Minister for Transport and Communications’ office, said Oman’s plans to connect to the GCC network had been suspended.
“The Ministry of Transport and Communications has not cancelled the project but only delayed it as other Gulf countries have decided to stop work on the project,” al Shuaili was quoted as saying.
The US$11 billion rail network was due to be built in four stages.
Speaking at the Middle East Rail conference in the UAE in March this year, Oman Rail’s chief commercial officer John Lesniewski said it would take about four years until the first rail line was operational.