Mexico awards first contract for $7.4bn Yucatán rail line

Mexico has awarded the engineering contract for its $7.4bn Mayan rail line to a Spanish-Mexican consortium, which entered the lowest of eight bids.

Fonatur, the country’s tourism board, awarded the $15m deal to a team made led by Key Capital and including Senermex Ingeniería y Sistemas, the Mexican subsidiary of Spanish engineer Sener, reports business magazine El CEO.

The other consultants are Daniferro Tools, and Geotecnica y Supervisión Técnica of Mexico. The competition, launched in May, was open only to domestic firms and the Mexican subsidiaries of foreign companies.

The consortium will carry out topographical and geotechnical studies to plan the route for the 1,500km line. This is expected to take about eight months, allowing lines to be laid in the first quarter of next year.

The line will cross the Yucatán peninsula in southeast Mexico, crossing the states of Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo. The project extends a previous plan to build a 900km line through Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Tabasco. Finance will come from funds collected through Mexico’s tourism tax, which amount to about $370m a year.

The project, which was approved by a referendum in November last year, has been championed by Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said it would open up "one of the most culturally important regions in the world".

The contract will now be reviewed by the Ministry of Finance with a view to being signed in the next two weeks.

Image: Temple of the Masks in Kabah (Rob Young/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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