Oman to build capacity for meeting rail project needs

Oman to build capacity for meeting rail project needs :Oman government is taking a series of measures to develop industries capable of meeting demand for construction material emanating from the 2,244-km long national railway project, when the first segment reaches the implementation phase early next year.

As part of such efforts, the Ministry of Transport and Communications has floated a tender for selecting a consultant to advise the government on ‘industrial capacity building for Oman railway project.’

The consultant, who will be selected by the second week of April, is expected to advise the government on how the country could develop various industries to meet the requirement of billions of dollars worth of concrete sleepers, ballast and crushing and screening plants.

Since the development of railway is something new for Oman, the country has to develop its capabilities from scratch, although it offers a bonanza of investment and business opportunities encompassing virtually all aspects of the multi-billion-dollar venture.

The whole project development is centred around the principle of ‘in country value,’ which stipulates that priority should be given to local companies while procuring railway construction materials.

Last September, the Oman government had organised a high-profile symposium to encourage private sector to set up manufacturing facilities within the country and identify real business opportunities.

Luka Beccastrini, Middle East Regional Head of Italferr – the Italian engineering firm that won consultancy services for preliminary design contract for the national railway project – at the symposium said that construction of the project would require an estimated 12,000 kilometres of rail.

As a result, a rail production plant in the Sultanate, designed and equipped to produce high quality rails, will be a lucrative business opportunity.

National railway project will need 46 stations
Further, the railway project will need 10 million concrete sleepers to be laid along the length of the network, 20 million elastic pads and 2.25 million metres of pipes, 35 tunnels, 45 viaducts and 98 pedestrian crossings. “A large number of plants are required to be set up at different locations for manufacturing sleepers,” he told the symposium.

Beccastrini added that as much as 23 million cubic metres of ballast and sub-ballast will be required for building the railway line, and 670,000 bars are needed for completing the project. There is also a need for stocking sites and crushing plants in different locations and the contractors will need concrete batch plants, including mobile ones, as well as pre-cast plants.

Further, the national railway will need 30 small stations, 10 interim stations, six large stations and eight marshalling yards. There is also a potential for investment in at least 10 quarries for mining stone required for the estimated 23 million cubic metres of ballast and sub-ballast required for the project. Opportunities for investment in associated crushing and screening plants, and concrete batching plants, are promising, too.

Stockyards for the storage of large quantities of construction material, such as soil for embankments, granular material, ballast and precast elements, are envisaged as well. There is also a potential for investments in precast plants to be set up close to major structures planned along the route.

Meanwhile, the government is in an advanced stage to select a project management consultant from three bidders — Technicas Reunidas, Dohwa Engineering Company and Parsons International Company.

As per the plan, the 170 km-long Sohar-Buraimi route is the first segment (among nine segments) to be implemented and the route design for this sector will be ready either by the end of July or early August. The railway project is expected to become operational by 2018.

Oman to build capacity for meeting rail project needs

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