THE GEORGIAN government is planning to invite bids this month for a build-operate-tender concession to complete its share of the planned rail link between Tbilisi and the Turkish town of Kars. No bids were received when the project was tendered earlier this year (RG 1.98 p7).

The work includes upgrading of the 190 km route from Tbilisi to Akhalkalaki and construction of 32 km of new line to the Turkish border. Turkish State Railway received four bids for construction of the 92 km between Kars and the border; the lowest at US$339m was submitted by Russia’s Technostroy with two local civil engineering groups.

Georgia is now negotiating with the Turkish transport ministry over the terms of a possible BOT concession, after collapse of plans for Turkish banks to fund the work (RG 7.98 p474). The concession may be structured to include the Kars section. o