Korean companies beat legal challenge to $2.5bn Panama metro win

A joint venture between Korean contractors Hyundai E&C and Posco E&C has been confirmed as the preferred bidder for a $2.5bn private-finance contract to build Line 3 of Panama’s metro system.

The HPH Consortium was confirmed as the winner after Panama’s General Directorate of Public Procurement dismissed complaints from the two other bidders over the way bids were evaluated.

The Korean team was originally awarded the work in November, a decision that was suspended by the directorate in December while the evaluation process was investigated.  

The complaints were lodged by other bidders including the China Railway Group and the ACPC Consortium, made up of Acciona Construcción of Spain and the Power Construction Corporation of China.

The masterplan for Panama City’s nine-line metro (Panama Metro)

The losing teams are able to lodge an appeal at the Administrative Court of Public Contracts, which would require them to deposit a bond of 15% of the value of the contract.

Line 3 of the metro is to be a 25km monorail system running east to west. When complete in 2022, the line will carry commuters from the province of West Panama over the Panama Canal to Panama City in less than 45 minutes. The journey can take up to three hours now, owing to traffic congestion.

Funding for the scheme will be provided by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation on a 20-year term.

Top image: Construction work under way on Panama City’s Line 2 (Panama Metro)

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