Railway is region’s largest capital projects market
RELATED ARTICLES: RTA plans massive expansion for Dubai Metro lines | French SMEs to be presented Doha Metro Project | BACS consortium awarded $10 billion Riyadh Metro contract The GCC could be headed towards a railway construction boom, given that $194bn worth of rail projects are planned or underway in the GCC. Launching the MENA Rail and Metro Summit 2013 in Abu Dhabi, Richard Thompson, editorial director of MEED, a business intelligence service, said that almost $30 billion out of the total $108 billion projects awarded so far in 2013 were in the rail sector, making it one of the region’s largest capital projects market. “This year has seen a turning point in the regional rail market. Over the past 10 months, we have seen the region’s ambitions to build metro systems and main line rail networks start to become a reality, and there is a lot more to come,” he said. The Riyadh Metro Project awarded in June, worth $22bn, was the largest of these investments made. “The success of this project so far is likely to act as a catalyst for further metro schemes in the kingdom,” Thompson said. He added this boom could raise challenges for the region with regard to skills shortages and stunted supply chains. “Everybody will be competing for the same resources. There is a real risk of unnecessary delays and cost escalation unless people manage the situation effectively. “A coordinated approach is required. That is what we are aiming to achieve with this summit meeting of regional rail industry leaders”, said Thompson. The next 12 months could see a massive boost in the region’s rail market. Oman is gearing up for its own national railway, with Oman Rail looking to prequalify contractors for rail projects before the end of the year. Saudi Arabia is expecting a boom in metro contract awards, with Mecca, Medina and Dammam all looking to develop metro and light rail networks in the coming years. Metro Jeddah Company has already announced at the summit that the Jeddah Metro will likely be awarded in the first half of 2015.