Global contractors, especially from China and France, are making the most of Qatar’s prodigious investment in infrastructure development. The emirate, which will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, is spending $182 billion over the next five years. Major projects on hand include the completion of Hamad International Airport, the New Doha Port project, railway and metro projects and roads.

The 26-square-kilometer New Port Project is being built in phases, with the first phase scheduled to for completion in 2016. It will comprise three container terminals with an eventual combined annual capacity in excess of 6 million containers per year. The port basin will be approximately 3.8 km in length, 700 meters wide and 17 m deep.

France-based Thales won a design-build contract to secure the new commercial port at Doha. Installation of integrated technology will ensure “that the operations of the port run safely,” says Christophe Lanovsky, country director for Thales in Qatar. The system will include a security command and control center, including a 19-km perimeter intrusion detection system, a redundant IT communication network, a redundant video storage system, an under-vehicle surveillance system and a tetra communication system.

Seven contractors are involved in the project, and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. has already completed the 8.5-km quay wall. It consists of some 35,224 precast concrete blocks, amounting to 1.4 million sq m. Other work includes 71 million sq m of excavation and more than 2.7 km of marine breakwaters. Hard-rock excavation involved up to 10 blasts per day using 6,900 tons of explosives.

Thales has also signed a contract with Qatari QDVC QSC, jointly owned by Qatari Diar (51%) and VINCI Construction Grands Projets (49%), for the delivery of an integrated supervision, telecommunications, security and automatic fare-collection system for the Lusail light rail transit system. The new 32-km-long, $45-billion tramway will have four lines and 37 stations. It will serve an expected 260,000 residents of the new city of Lusail, 23 km north of Doha, on an expanse of over 35 sq km.

“It is clear that under Qatar’s National Vision 2030 initiative, the country aims to become a leading innovator,” says Lanovsky. “We aim to put ourselves forward for a number of ambitious upcoming projects.”

Another French firm, Egis, recently won a 23-month engineering, procurement and construction management contract from Qatar’s Public Works Authority for rehabilitation of the 4-sq-km Al Karaana lagoon in the Al Rayyan region, west of Doha. Around 60,000 cubic meters of untreated wastewater per day is discharged into the lagoon.

Egis also has won the design and construction supervision contracts for the 27-sq-km Um Alhoul Economic Zone (one of three planned). In the next five years, Egis will audit master plan designs already drawn up, deliver detailed plans, carry out specific design studies and supervise construction.