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NEOM hosts global contractors amid scale-back reports

RIYADH, April 15, 2024

NEOM, the sustainable development taking shape in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, brought together over 100 of the world’s leading construction companies for a two-day industry forum, even as reports indicate that the kingdom has scaled back its medium-term ambitions for the sprawling, futuristic city.
 
The forum, which took place in NEOM, aimed to showcase on-the-ground construction progress while highlighting future developments, as the developer of this ambitious development advances into the next stage of its vast portfolio of projects.
 
As these projects transition into a new phase of execution, the demand for top-tier construction proficiency is vital to deliver some of the most ambitious development projects the world has ever seen, said the developer in a statement.
 
These bold projects include the 170-km-long city, The Line, currently being built in modular phases with the first phase welcoming residents in 2030, said NEOM.
 
Construction is currently happening throughout all of NEOM, with a construction workforce of over 140,000. With the help of the companies that participated in the forum, the workforce is anticipated to grow to over 200,000 by next year, said the statement.
 
However, Bloomberg in a recent report, citing ‘people familiar with the matter’, stated that Saudi Arabia has scaled back its medium-term ambitions for the development.
 
It added that while the government at one point hoped to have 1.5 million residents living in The Line by 2030, now, officials expect the development will house fewer than 300,000 residents by that time.
 
With the latest pullback, officials expect to have just 2.4 km of the project completed by 2030, said the report quoting the source.
 
As a result, at least one contractor has started to dismiss a portion of the workers it employs on the site,  Bloomberg added.
 
Meanwhile, the forum also highlighted the importance of innovation within the industry, and how traditional construction methods will not meet the scale and scope of NEOM.
 
Additionally, the on-the-ground progress was showcased throughout NEOM, including construction progress on The Line, the Spine, Oxagon, Trojena and the NEOM International Airport.
 
The forum opened with an address by Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of NEOM, stating: “As we go into our busiest ever phase of development, the scale of opportunities across NEOM is monumental. With projects progressing fast across all parts of the region, we are committed to collaborating with globally renowned contractors to achieve the vision of NEOM.”
 
Attendees gained insights into the plans and scope of upcoming opportunities. In addition, they visited project sites to witness first-hand the construction that is currently taking place, which is already on a massive scale seldom seen anywhere in the world. 
 
The event also included one-on-one meetings, during which specific business opportunities were discussed as contractors displayed their services and capabilities.
 
The forum hosted a mix of firms from Saudi Arabia, along with international firms from Asia, Europe, North America, and North Africa. -TradeArabia News Service



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