Engineering giants vie for $11bn contract to build UAE railway

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The Independent Online

Engineering giants KBR, Bechtel and WorleyParsons have been invited to pitch for the project manager role on the $11bn (£7bn) United Arab Emirate's (UAE) railway.

Union Railway, which is run by Richard Bowker, a former National Express chief executive, is expecting bids from around 10 parties for the design and build contract next week.

The project is hugely ambitious, spanning 1,300km across all seven Emirates, with the first phase to be completed by 2013. The deadline for the whole project is 2018.

Mr Bowker is one of two Britons running high-profile infrastructure schemes in the UAE. Tony Douglas, the former Heathrow Airport chief executive, heads up Abu Dhabi Ports Company. Its major development is the Khalifa Port, to be the centre of a vast industrial city. The $7bn first phase of the plan will open on 1 September 2012. Mr Douglas has invited 170 of the world's top industrialists to a launch on 13 November.

They are the chief executives and chairmen of some of the companies that will be fighting for 267 plots of up to 7km squared. Mr Douglas said that 370 international groups have expressed an interest in taking space at the Khalifa Port industrial zone.