The bidders are:

• Aurizon Operations
• FS Italy, Almavia, Al Madina Logistics, Canarail and Menarail Transport Consultant
• Freightliner Group, Oman Investment Corp and Network Rail Consulting
• Rites India and Konkan Railway
• GB Railfreight, Al Bahja Construction, and Advanced Rail
• Swiss Railway Systems, Ubar, Transnet SOC, and Barbican
• Assignia Infrastructure Oman, Asesoría Integral Ferroviaria, FGC and Zubair Corp, and
• Grindrod Mauritius.

Phase 1 runs for 207km from Buraimi on the UAE border to the port of Sohar. On announcing the tender in June, Oman Rail said the scope of services expected from the O&M partner is defined in three phases: pre-operations, start-up operations, and steady-state operations. The selected partner will be responsible for railway freight operations and maintenance, terminal operations and maintenance, and railway network management and maintenance. The partner will also be responsible for staff development and support functions to enable the delivery of rail operations.

In addition, Oman Rail recently prequalified more than a dozen groups from Spain, Italy, China, Turkey, Korea, Germany and France for construction contracts for the next three phases of the network which cover more than 1200km from Hafeet on the border with the UAE to Salalah in the far south of the country. A number of Omani companies are also part of the groups vying for the contracts, while 12 groups have been prequalified for the 93km-long mountainous segment from Thumrait to Salalah Port, which will require extensive tunnelling and construction of high viaducts.