By Andy Sambidge
Senior GCC official says up to five companies set to be shortlisted, operational by 2017.
Tenders for the GCC's proposed $25bn regional rail network are set to be floated in the first quarter of 2010, according to comments from a senior official of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Mohammad Bin Obeid Al Mazroui, GCC assistant secretary-general for economic affairs, said in a statement published by Arabic daily Al-Ittihad that up to five companies would be shortlisted.
He also indicated that either a single company would be chosen for the execution of the project or a number of companies will come together to do it as part of a consortium, reported The Peninsula on Sunday which cited the Arabic paper.
The GCC states will be linked with a 2,117km long network, starting in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia before construction of the lines linking Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.
Al Mazroui confirmed that it was hoped to get the project up and running by 2017.
Train services across the six GCC states will facilitate movement and travel of GCC citizens as well as expatriates and boost regional trade, Al Mazroui told Al-Ittihad.
A report by Kuwait Financial Centre last week said GCC nations are planning to invest a total of $109bn on rail projects in the next 10 years as officials look to solve traffic congestion issues.
The report said investments in railway projects would increase dramatically in the region over the next decade.
The supply-side analysis of expected investments indicates that the GCC region could see investments totalling $109bn - based on the announced projects in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the pan GCC project.