Semera – Tadjoura Railway Tender Postponed Again
CEO points at the need to give more time and more information to bidders.
Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC) postponed the tender it had announced to hire a contractor for Semera -Tadjourah, railway project for the fifth time.
Initially, the tender was announced on August 7, 2014 requesting the bidders to submit their technical and financial proposals by August 22, 2014, for the construction of a 280Km rail project connecting Semera with the Djibouti port at Tadjourah. Totally, 11 companies purchased the bidding documents. But the Corporation postponed the bid submission date to October 13, 2014 and subsequently changed the dates to November 2, 2014, and January 30, 2015.
The recent submission date was meant to take place by this week on January 30, 2015, but according to a letter sent to the bidders on January 15, 2014, the ERC stated that the bid document submission date is again extended to March 3, 2015.
“We received the letter with the changed submission date for the fifth time without specifying the reason why the Corporation is changing the date,” said one of the bidders.
The project is part of the national project that extends form Mekele – Weldya/Hara Gebeya – Semera-Tadjourah Port Railway Project. But the 268.2Km Mekele-Woldiya/Hara Gebeya Railway project was awarded to the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) for 1.6 billion dollars in 2012 after obtaining the financing from (EX-IM) Bank of China. The project is expected to take three and half years to complete.
The Corporation has changed the requirements in the tender, which could lead to the exclusion of some of the bidders, said one international bidder. These changes included a requirement that bidders should previously have worked on a project worth 200 million dollars as well as undertaken 180Kms of road project and 180Kms of rail project.
The tender was postponed for two reasons, says Getachew Betru (PhD), chief executive officer (CEO)of ERC.
“One is because of requests from the bidders for more time to prepare financial and technical proposal. The second reason is that we needed to provide some explanations to some bidders who were not clear about some points in the bid document.”
The ERC facilitated and took the bidders for sight visits to the place of the construction on September 2014 and December 2014.
This project will be a 280Km railway connecting Afar Regional State and Djibouti with the aim of transporting potash, metals and other products from northern part of Ethiopia to Djibouti’s Port Tadjourah for the international market.
The detailed feasibility study of the project was conducted by Overseas Infrastructure Alliance Plc (OIA), an Indian firm, in 2012 with the financing of the government of Ethiopia. OIA also prepared a bidding document and detailed engineering design for the project that is expected to be finalized in five years with a 300 million dollar financing that is secured from Indian government.
The ERC is undertaking the construction of railways in two schemes – Light Railway Transit (LRT) and National Railway Network of Ethiopia (NRNE). The LRT project which has a 31Km length was awarded to China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC) with 475 million dollars in 2011. The project is expected to start operation by May 2015. For the NRNE, the ERC has identified eight railway corridors for study, design and subsequent implementation, the total estimated length of which is 5,060km. Semera to Tadjourah rail project is part of the national project that was planned to be constructed as phase one.
From the NRNE projects, another Chinese company, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. Ltd. (CREEC) is constructing the first lot of the 317Km Addis Ababa-Me’eso railway lines. The second lot of the 340Km Me’eso-Dire Dawa-Dawale electric railway project was awarded to another Chinese state owned enterprise China Civil Construction Corporation (CCECC) in 2011 and progressing well.