China, Turkey are teams to beat in major Croatian rail scheme

Contractors from China and Turkey have entered the lowest bids – each $360m – for a major Croatian rail scheme.

The two were among 10 teams that entered public bids to build a 43km rail link to improve communications between the Croatian port of Rijeka and the Hungarian border, Croatian Railways Infrastructure (HZI) has announced.

The project will replace an old single line running between Krizevci and Koprivnica in the north of the country with a double-track system.

It is "the largest infrastructure railway project in the recent history of the Republic of Croatia", according to HZI.

As well as replacing track, the work will add reinforced concrete bridges and improve station buildings and platforms.

Rijeka is Croatia’s largest port in the Adriatic. Because it is considered a crucial node in the wider European transport network, the EU is contributing 85% of the cost of the scheme.

The bidders entered their bids at a meeting held at HZI’s headquarters on 19 July. They were:

  • Austria/Croatia Strabag and RZD International
  • Bosnia Integral Inzenjering
  • China A joint venture between Tiesiju Civil Engineering Group and China Railway Electrification Engineering Group; Sinohydro Corporation
  • Croatia Div Grupa
  • Greece Avax
  • Italy/Spain A joint venture between Comsa and Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie; Copasa; a consortium led by Rizzani de Eccher
  • Slovakia TSS Grade
  • Slovenia Kolektor Koling and SZ-Zeleznisko
  • Turkey Cengiz and a consortium led by Yapi Merkezi

The lowest bids received came from Sinohydro and Cengiz Insaat, who both offered to build the line for about $360m. The highest bid, from Copasa, was around $450m. HZI will now evaluate the proposals and select a winner based on "the most economically advantageous tender".

As well as the Krizevci and Koprivnica deal, HZI is preparing to launch tenders later in the year for construction of a second railway from Dugo Selo to Križevci and a second track on the Hrvatski to Karlovac line. The two together are expected to be worth about $550m.

Image: Croatian rail worker at work (HZI)

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