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July 12, 2011

Brazil splits high-speed bidding

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BRAZIL'S National Land Transport Agency (ANTT) has announced that it plans to change the concessioning model for the 511km Rio de Janeiro - São Paulo - Campinas high-speed line, with the bids being split into two separate contracts, after the project failed to attract any bidders.
The first bidding phase will cover the contract for railway systems, operation and maintenance, while the second will cover infrastructure. The changes by the Federal government were unveiled yesterday, the deadline for submission of initial proposals.

Previously the ANTT had sought a single consortium to construct the Reais 33bn ($US 20.2bn) line as a design-build-operate-maintain concession. However, foreign companies had found it difficult to form consortia with domestic construction companies, a condition of the bidding process. Last week the ANTT confirmed it had received two requests to delay the bidding process, one from the Brazilian Rail Industry Association (Abifer) and the other from a Korean consortium lead by Hyundai-Rotem.

"We are using a different model because we want to have open competition and international competition," says ANTT director general Mr Bernardo Figueiredo. "The new model has two advantages. More companies will be eligible to work in each segment and the groups will be able to work simultaneously on their respective parts of the project."

A public hearing will be held next month on the amendments, but the ANTT insists the changes will not delay the start of construction, and Figueiredo says he expects work to begin by the end of next year.

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