Oman kicks off consultant tender for landmark Muscat Metro

20 February 2023 3 min. read

Announced some two years ago as part of the nation’s strategic urban development plan, the proposed Muscat Metro has taken a step forward with the Oman transport ministry calling for bids from consultants.

Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has put the call out to the international consulting community to bid on a support contract for the Sultanate’s landmark Muscat Metro project, which was first announced back in 2021.

According to reports, the first phase of the tendering process will be primarily focused on the pre-feasibility stage of project development, with the Ministry seeking support in delivering key decisions.

Oman kicks off consultant tender for landmark Muscat Metro

As it stands, the capital is without any form of public rail system, setting the country behind its Gulf neighbours. A 2020 global benchmark report from management consulting firm Oliver Wyman ranked Dubai and Doha favorably for urban mobility, while Bahrain’s slated metro system is moving toward the construction phase with the support of KPMG. Abu Dhabi is also making progress on its metro project, which on completion will span 113 kilometers of track.

As for the Muscat Metro, which aims to reduce traffic congestion and increase the city’s appeal to tourists, the envisioned mass transit system would link the eastern commercial hubs of Ruwi and Muttrah to Seeb in the west via the city centre, with a branch extending to the airport and connection points with other modes of public transport. In addition, it’s hoped the proposed metro will lower the city’s carbon footprint and support efforts toward sustainability.

As reported by the Oman Daily Observer, the Ministry has also commissioned an impact study to assess the socioeconomic benefits of the project for the Muscat governorate and wider economy, with Said bin Hamoud Al Maawali, Oman’s minister of transport, communications and information technology, stating in an interview that a team of experts had been assembled to determine how best to ensure the long-term sustainability of the proposed metro.

Previously, Ibrahim bin Hamood Al Waili, a director with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, said that population growth was a factor in the planning. “Based on estimates under the urban development strategy, there will be about one million people in Muscat Governorate by 2040. From this point of view, it is important that we diversify transportation. This includes a metro network, which will serve as an alternate means of transportation for people.”

Al-Waeli also noted that a previous structural planning study contract had been awarded to a foreign consulting firm as part of the Sultanate’s long-term strategic urban development plan under which the metro project falls.

Having been put to tender at the start of the month, the Ministry reportedly stated that bids on the latest metro consulting contract would be finalised either through negotiations or via direct award, although no closing date was given.