By Conrad Egbert
If you log onto our website, www.constructionweekonline.com, which has over-taken almost every other construction-related website in traffic numbers, you’ll see that despite the slowdown, there’s no lack of news.
Qatar is still announcing projects, Saudi Arabia is still awarding some and Bahrain still has a lot of activity going on, even though some of it has grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons.
And maybe the reason for this ongoing activity is because unlike other markets that have simply slowed down, the region here has begun to improvise and co-operate.
For instance, UAE-based construction major Arabtec Holding, wasted no time over an offer from Saudi Binladen subsidiary CPC Services to partner and form Arabtec Saudi Arabia in the Kingdom.
But obviously, the question arose as to why a Saudi Binladen Group company would "approach" a UAE-based one to work on its own turf?
But CPC chief Moutaz Sawaf did a good job quelling rumours of a suspicious tie-up at a press conference last week saying: "We (CPC Services and Saudi Binladen Group) are exhausted. We need more people who are trained and capable of getting on site immediately to start work, and Arabtec was the best known company to us."
Fair enough. With all the cancel-happy developers around, Arabtec could do with some extra work. And Saudi Arabia could do with some more experienced A-grade contractors. A win-win situation as far as I can see.
If more of these tie-ups begin to happen, the region could be looking up sooner than soothsayers say it is scheduled to. Some GCC states have more work than they can handle, while others have some relatively free contractors. Its simple economics really.
The UAE government's injection of funds into the economy has already seen an immediate flow of liquidity into the construction industry - what with Arabtec CEO Riad Kamal saying that all the company's receivables up until December 2008 have been paid up, thanks to the bonds.
We all need to do what it takes to keep the industry breathing - whether it's sharing work, forming partnerships or even injecting money into the economy.
Co-operate and spread the love.
Conrad Egbert is the editor of Construction Week.