$2.7bn Dubai Metro scheme comes down to two-horse race

Two consortiums comprising five different nations have been shortlisted to build the metro line that will prepare Dubai’s transport system for the 2020 Expo.

Picked by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), one is reported to be composed of Acciona of Spain, Gulermak of Turkey and Alstom of France. It will be up against Obayashi of Japan, Consolidated Contractors Company, which is based in Athens, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Emirates Business reports that the next few weeks will be taken up with dealing with outstanding technical queries, after which final negotiations will begin to choose the winner. An award is expected before Ramadan starts in June.

The 15km, seven-station line, which is to be called "Route 2020" will extend the metro’s Red Line from Nakheel Harbour and Tower Station to the main site of Expo 2020. It will later be extended again to connect downtown Dubai with Al Maktoum International Airport, when it is completed.

The selection process began in May 2015 when representatives of more than 100 rail contractors from 34 countries gathered in Dubai’s Intercontinental Hotel to hear a presentation by the RTA.

The proposed route of the 2020 Line (Dubai metro)

The contract is being let on a design-and-build basis. Construction work is scheduled to begin shortly after a winner is chosen, and will end in the first quarter of 2020.

By March of this year five teams were left in the bid. As well as the two finalists, these were:

  • Nurol from Turkey, Astaldi from Italy and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles of Spain;
  • China Railway Group and the CSR Corporation of China, Mapa Gunal of Turkey;
  • Orascom of Egypt, Yapi Merkezi of Turkey, GS Engineering & Construction of South Korea and Siemens.

The market was reportedly surprised on 6 March, when the Nurol team was named as the lowest bidder. The group submitted a price of about $1.9bn, which was 29% less than the second lowest bid, which was from China Railway Group. The remaining bids were tightly grouped between $2.7bn and $2.8bn, with the two successful bids being most expensive.

A video showing the route of the 2020 Line can be seen here.

Image shows Aedas’ design for a Dubai metro station (Aedas)

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