A SPANISH-led consortium has bid for a 30-year concession to renovate and run the Pacífico network running inland from the Colombian port of Buenaventura. Seven groups expressed interest when rail infrastructure authority Ferrovías invited tenders earlier this year, but the sole bid came from a consortium led by Actividades de Construcción y Servicios and Sacyr of Spain, with local engineering firms Equipos Universal, Castro Tcherassy and Cano Jimenez. Acting President of Ferrovías Juan Manuel Leano says the government has two months to review the bid before awarding the concession.

The group plans to take four years to renovate the 300 km from Buenaventura to Cali and Zarzal, the 40 km Zarzal - La Tebaida section of the branch to Armenia and 119 km of the Zarzal - Medellin route to a new freight terminal at La Felisa. The government would contribute US$120m, with the backing of Japan's Eximbank.

According to Ferrovial of Spain, which pulled out, the poor bidding response was influenced by the government's decision in June to revoke the concession for the Atlantic network linking Bogot? to the Caribbean port of Santa Marta. The Fepaz consortium of 13 foreign bidders selected earlier this year had apparently failed to register as a Colombian company in line with the concession terms. o