Seven teams compete for $2.6bn Panama monorail

Seven out of the nine teams that began the prequalification process for the Panama’s Line 3 monorail project have made it through to the next stage.

On the list are heavyweights from China, Korea, Spain and Italy.

The decision to pass the bidders was made by the metro’s Evaluation Commission.

The seven will now go on to tender for the scheme, which is being let on a turnkey basis. That means the teams will be expected to design and build the 27km line and its 14 stations, and supply the rolling stock and all the train management systems.

The two entrants that dropped out were Salini Impregilo of Italy and the Chine State Construction Engineering Corporation.

Line 3 is to be a monorail system running east to west. The cost is expected to be around $2.6bn, which will be provided by the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation on a 20-year term. The six-monthly interest for this loan is set at Japan’s interbank lending rate minus 1.05%, with an initial fee of 0.2%.

The masterplan for Panama City’s nine-line metro

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.

It will be served by trains with six carriages that are able to move 40,000 people an hour at peak times.

The teams in the running are as follows:

  • China Railway Group
  • Oriental Metro, a consortium made up of China Harbour Engineering and the Beijing Urban Construction Group
  • HP Joint Venture Consortium, made up of Hyundai Engineering & Construction and Posco of Korea
  • The ACPC Consortium, comprising Acciona Construcción of Spain and the Power Construction Corporation of China
  • The Line 3 Consortium, which includes FCC of Spain and Carso Infrastructure of Mexico
  • Astaldi, an Italian contractor based in Rome
  • Line 3 Monorail Consortium, made up of Obrascon Huarte Lain of Spain, Andrade Gutierrez Engineering of Brazil and Mota-Engil of Portugal.

Of the teams in the competition, FCC has the most knowledge of Panama City: it built Line 1 and is presently undertaking Line 2, a scheme that it won in 2015 along with Brazil’s Odebrecht. FCC and Carso Infrastructure are controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim.

Panama has unveiled plans to complete a nine-line metro by 2040. The fourth and fifth lines will be underground and the remaining four are expected to take the form of trams or light rail.

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

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