x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Companies vie to kick off Arabian Canal project

Ten companies are vying to win the earthworks contract for phase one of the 75km Arabian Canal in Dubai.

An illustration of the Arabian Canal.
An illustration of the Arabian Canal.

DUBAI // Ten companies are vying to win the major earthworks contract for the first phase of the 75km Arabian Canal, a US$11 billion (Dh40.37bn) project that will produce one of the world's longest man-made waterways. Limitless, a property development arm of the state-owned Dubai World, is assessing the bids submitted by local and international firms and will award the contract by the end of next month. A spokesman for the firm yesterday declined to give the approximate value of the contract or the names of the bidding parties.

According to Ian Raine, the canal's project director, the construction involves one of the biggest excavations ever undertaken in the region. "The sheer size of the project means that it will be split into around 10 different packages in total," he said. The 75km Arabian Canal will flow from Dubai Waterfront, pass east of the planned Dubai World Central project's Al Maktoum International Airport and rejoin the sea near Palm Jumeirah.

The canal, at six metres deep and 150 metres wide, has been planned to accommodate boats of up to 40 metres in length. Marinas, residential, commercial, retail and leisure developments along its banks will eventually be home to an estimated 1.5 million people. The first package involves the excavation of an eight-kilometre stretch of the waterway at the northern end of the inland section of the canal.

Earlier this month, the firm completed the pilot excavation work, shifting more than 1.5 million cubic metres of earth. South Korea's Samsung and a joint venture of Australia's Gulf Leighton and Van Oord of the Netherlands were appointed to undertake test excavation techniques on the site. The local firm, Bund Construction, was also hired to carry out preliminary groundwork on the site. The test excavation has left a hole 700 metres long, 200 metres wide and up to 45 metres deep.

"Yet this is less than a quarter of a per cent of the total amount of earth to be moved," Mr Raine said. "Overall, more than a billion cubic metres will be excavated - and reused to form new landscapes along the waterway." Limitless has nine global projects worth more than $100bn in Russia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and the UAE. Combined, they span nearly 30,000 hectares and will provide homes for three million people. The firm has offices in Poland, Russia, India, Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt, Singapore and China, with a Saudi Arabian office opening soon.