The road to fulfilling the 'New Kuwait' 2035 vision

Panellists explore how Kuwait’s construction sector must evolve to fulfil the ambitious New Kuwait 2035 mandate

Panellists discussing diversification at Leaders Kuwait 2019.
ITP Media Group
Panellists discussing diversification at Leaders Kuwait 2019.

During the first panel discussion at Construction Week’s Leaders in Construction Summit Kuwait 2019 on 16 October – titled Diversification in Kuwait Megaprojects – panellists explained how projects could be delivered as part of the New Kuwait 2035 vision by working with international contractors to deliver sustainable infrastructure schemes.

The panel, which was moderated by senior associate at BCLP, Richard Dupay, featured panellists such as head of Kuwait at Khatib & Alami, Shiraz Basma; construction manager at Kuwait Bruckner, Eng Hani Garada; and senior manager for landscape architecture, urban planning, and design at Khatib & Alami – and keynote speaker at Leaders Kuwait 2019 (page 26) – Marlon van Masstricht.

Intiating proceedings as part of the panel, Dupay said that a key component of the New Kuwait 2035 vision was to achieve the delivery of key infrastructure, and urban megaprojects focused on boosting connectivity in the GCC nation.

One of the most significant megaprojects under way in the country is the $4.3bn (KWD1.3bn) Foster + Partners-designed passenger Terminal 2 at Kuwait International Airport, which is being constructed by Turkey’s Limak Insaat alongside local construction firm Kharafi National, overseen by Kuwait’s Ministry of Public Works. She added that Kuwait National Rail Road (KNRR) is one of the most important projects in the country, adding that its construction would be extremely beneficial for the national economy. She added that as part of the KNRR project, Kuwait would also create a 111km link to the regional GCC Railway network.

Addressing the audience, Basma added that KNRR, the $86bn (KWD26.1bn) Silk City, Kuwait Stormwater Drainage System masterplan, and Kuwait Metro were some of the numerous non-oil and gas projects that will pave the way for Kuwait to meet its 2035 vision.

Speaking about the entry of international contractors in the Kuwaiti construction market, Garada said that Kuwait Bruckner works with both local and international entities, adding that the firm, however, preferred to work with home-grown organisations when possible. Explaining the company’s position on partnerships, Garada said during the discussion: “Overseas contractors cannot complete contracts by themselves – they need local experience [in Kuwait].

“We are working with both local and international contractors, which is a win-win situation for both parties, but we prefer working with Kuwait-based firms.”

Basma said there was growing interest for international contractors coming into Kuwait, with Chinese consortiums being involved in the Silk City development through a memorandum of understanding signed for the project in Beijing last year.

Van Masstricht added it was important to provide training to international organisations and ensure they could “operate on a local level” as Kuwait ramps up construction investments.

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