Saturday, October 16, 2010

Port Development And Multimodal Hubs Likely In Oman

Rail Freight Development Continues in the Region
Shipping News Feature

OMAN – Just a few days ago we told of how Jordan has plans to develop a rail system to extend south into the territory of their neighbours Saudi Arabia within the next decade. Now local press reports are full of how Oman intends to develop its own double track, standard gauge rail network, including a full rail freight component with intermodal depots sited at strategic points on its length.

Given Oman’s successful history of development projects it is highly likely that the Sultanate will knuckle down and do exactly what they propose. Reports state they are aiming to run regular freight services, not only internally but, like Jordan into their giant northerly neighbours plus a network extending into Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE.

The freight element will be the first aim of the project and with the space available look for double stacked container trucks from the very first plus the assorted range of bulk carrying wagons. Analysts believe that the results of prequalifying tenders received by the due date of 31st May this year will result in several companies who applied being named very shortly leading to full specification quotations for the project management and consultancy services within a few months.

Freight trains of up to 10,000 tonnes travelling at up to 120 kilometres per hour are expected to be the first users of the completed system (Russian trains normally don’t exceed 6,000 tonnes whereas Australian Ore trains can be over 30,000 tonnes in total) but a passenger service may well follow. Initially development is likely to be in the north of the country with Sohar in the Al Batinah Region likely to develop as an important port.