Nuttall, in a joint venture with Van Oord, along with Laing O’Rourke and Costain are all bidding for the Dubai Ports job, which has been divided into two packages - the development of the port and the development of the logistics park.
Costain is bound to be an early favourite for the work having picked up a deal from Hutchison Ports, estimated to be worth around £200 million, to build two berths at Felixstowe container port last month.
Chief executive of Dubai Ports Mohammed Sharaf has said he is adopting an accelerated construction schedule that will see the project up and running in time for the Olympics in 2012.
Work is expected to start before the end of the year.
It will lead to a new major deep-sea container port and Europe’s largest logistics park. The winner of the first package will also be responsible for dredging and reclamation, road and railway work in the area.
One of the bidders told Construction News: “It would be a great job to do, it’s absolutely massive.”
The London Gateway will be built on the north bank of the River Thames near Thurrock, Essex, on the site of the former Shell Haven oil refinery.
Dubai Ports has included a 2.3 km-long container quay with seven deep water container vessel berths in the plans.
Road works will centre on enhancing the A13 and M25 Junction 30 as part of the project.
Once finished it will provide additional capacity for 3.5 million cargo units every year and will be a hub for the world’s largest container ships.
In addition to the deep sea facility, London Gateway port will combine with Europe’s largest logistics park, offering 9.5 million sq ft for the distribution, manufacturing and high-tech sectors.
A go-ahead for the job was given by the Government last month with the Department for Transport issuing a harbour empowerment order to London Gateway, which grants official and statutory powers to the new port.
Dubai Ports inherited the project from P&O, which it bought in 2006. The British firm, along with Shell, submitted an application for the port in 2002.