South Korea’s Dohwa frontrunner for $15bn Omani rail network

26 March 2014

The South Korean firm Dohwa Engineering has been tipped to win a plum contract to project manage the Sultinate of Oman’s high-speed rail network, which is due to break ground at the beginning of next year.

The other firms in the running are Parsons Brinckerhoff, Parsons International, Hill International and Spanish contractor Técnicas Reunidas.

The firm that wins the work will be given the job of running a $15.6bn rail construction project. It will be expected to provide a wide range of services, including overseeing the initial design work, supervising construction, choosing the rolling stock and training Omani nationals to run the completed network.

The Oman Daily Observer has reported that the Seoul-based multidisciplinary firm offered to do the work for $280m.

This was $150m less than the next lowest bid, from Técnicas Reunidas, while Parsons International was in third place with an offer price of $480m.

A number of contracts have already been awarded for the 2,244km national rail system. Last month, the Omani government signed a contract for preliminary design and surveying services with Italferr, the consulting arm of Italy’s state railway.

At present, camels and pick-up trucks are the main forms of overland transportation in Oman’s harsh terrain (Hendrik Dacquin/Wikimedia Commons)

Altogether, some $2.6bn is to be spent on design and preparatory work this year, with construction due to begin in 2015.

Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Oman’s minister of transport, said last month that a design-and-build contractor for the entire project would be appointed by the end of the year.

The work will be divided into nine phases. The first is a 170-km-long stretch between the port of Sohar and the UAE border at Al Buraimi. All design and surveying work for this stretch is to be ready by the end of July.

The network, which is due to be operational by 2018, will link the emirate’s six main cities with the UAE, and form the eastern arm of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s regional rail system.

It was originally intended to terminate at the Omani capital of Muscat but the government of Oman has now decided to run it to the Arabian sea, then south to the Yemeni border.

Dohwa has wide experience of railway construction around the world. It has previously constructed railways in Bolivia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Algeria, Georgia and Indonesia.

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