Oman to award rail operations deal this year
Minister says first phase of rail construction and centre of excellence will also start on site
A contract for the operations and maintenance for Oman's new rail network is set to be awarded within the first half of this year.
The country's Minister of Transport and Communications, Dr Ahmed bin Salim Al Futaisi, also said that the contract award for the first phase of the line's construction (from Al Buraimi to Sohar) and for the building of a new Railway Centre of Excellence to train staff will both begin this year, while designs for the entire network will also be completed.
His comments were made at a briefing to journalists at which the Ministry unveiled its strategic plan for 2015 which took place at the Grand Hyatt hotel, according to the Oman News Agency.
The minister also said that a number of important road projects would be opened this year, including a stretch of the A'Sharqiyah road from Bidbid-Sur and the Al Batinah Expressway from Muscat to Barka. The remaining road contracts that make up the Expressway package will also be awarded during the year, he added.
Another new project due to be started this year is a public transport plan for the capital city, Muscat. Oman National Transport Company will work with the Municipality and the Governate to begin a number of new experimental bus routes.
Meanwhile, at Muscat International Airport he said the project should achieve more than 90% of its works by the end of 2015.
The airport was initially scheduled to complete last year.
At the GCC Rail Conference in Muscat last month, Oman Rail CEO Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Hatmi said an EPC tender for the 200km-long first phase of the network was issued in August last year. He added that he expected a further 500km to to be tendered this year.
The rail network is due to be commissioned in 2018.