DUBAI, March 8 (TRPN) - Oman Rail will award the tender for multifunctional consultancy services for the Gulf Arab state's rail project within a month, an official said.

Last October, the state-owned company invited proposals for tendering Multifunctional Consultancy Services covering operation and maintenance, infrastructure, rolling stocks, management, railway facilities, mass transit system and auxiliary services for ports and mines.

"We are in the process of evaluating those tenders (and) in a relatively short period of time, we should be able to declare (winners)... maximum a month's time," Nathan Wiles, general manager for projects at Oman Rail, told a roundtable at the Middle East Rail event on Tuesday.

"The reason why we're looking at multi-functional is because we're not just talking about developing the railways, we want to develop the terminal ends as well, including all the mining equipment, loading-unloading systems, conveyor belt, ship loaders .so it becomes one complete railway solution," he said.

The company is expected to enter into call-off contracts with the winners.

"We will shortlist three consultants and then we'll call them as and when we'll need them throughout the next two years," he explained.

According to the tender invite, multiple consultants would be appointed for a period of two years with two possible extensions of one year each.

Wiles said the consultants are expected to help finalize the technical standards and requirements developed by the company.

He said that Oman Rail has put in place its own "fit-for-purpose" rail standards to limit capital expenditure and maximize value. He said it is a slimmed down version of a unified Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) rail standard which is still being developed as part of a plan to set up a regional network linking the six members of the GCC.

(Reporting by Megha Merani) ((