Summary

Regional political uncertainty is given as the greatest concern overall (40 per cent) for respondents in the Middle East.

Around 16 per cent of our Middle East respondents see opportunities coming from the availability of funding for investment and/or growth. However, no one feels that the issue of overcapacity has been resolved.

Investment opportunities

This region was the most interested in investing in new assets with 32 per cent of respondents citing this as their number one investment choice.

Respondents in the region show little or no interest in increasing their workforce or skills

Regionally, it is still the Middle East with the greatest, albeit smaller, proportion who predict a rise in infrastructure investment (83 per cent, down from 88 per cent in 2010).

Rail respondents placed the region third in their regional investment wish list, behind Western Europe and North America.

Funding

Pricing and liquidity/availability of money are the two greatest concerns, as with other regions; although a significant 20 per cent of Middle East respondents cite increased security/guarantee requirements as their major concern.

13 per cent of respondents support the idea of specialist transport funding institutions.

The next five years

Thirty-two per cent of Middle East respondents predict that operations are likely to become more specialised; a view supported by the fact that no one believes that there will be a withdrawal of established participants. Neither was there any support for the view that there would be start-ups in their sector.

This region shows the greatest shift in opinion regarding fares and freight, with a larger proportion of respondents expecting a rise (58 per cent as opposed to 45 per cent in 2010) and no one predicting a fall, down from a significant 32 per cent in 2010. They also remain the most optimistic region regarding passenger numbers and freight volume, with an increased proportion predicting a rise (92 per cent, up from 2010’s 86 per cent).

It scores most strongly in expectation of expansion of routes/service offered (88 per cent) as it did in 2010 (70 per cent). The greater shift has been away from predictions of a fall in routes/services offered; 13 per cent predicted a fall in 2010 and this is now down to four per cent.

The Middle East (28 per cent) is also one of the three most enthusiastic regional supporters of high-capacity/high-speed assets, believing they will unleash new opportunities for all in the sector, though only eight per cent believe that the operators of these assets will dominate the routes where they operate and 24 per cent doubt their sustainability.

The most significant challenge facing the region is the lack of suitably qualified people, with 28 per cent of respondents putting this at the top of their list. Unlike several other regions, respondents show no concern (0 per cent) for supply and demand imbalances.

As with all other regions, fuel price/ economy is a major concern, but respondents in this region also place a higher concern on the associated benefits from fuel choice than do other regions.