SAUDI ARABIA: Four consortia have been invited to submit final bids this month for a 50-year BOT concession to design, build and operate the 444 km Western Railway high speed line linking Makkah, Jeddah and Madinah. Six of the seven groups that submitted prequalification bids in 2006 were shortlisted in June 2007 (RG 8.07 p465).

Bidding for the Makkah Madinah Rail Link is being managed by Saudi Railways Organisation. The four groups understood to have reached the final round are:

  • the Saudi-Japanese Consortium, including Saudi Archirodon, Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Veolia;
  • the Al Rajhi Alliance, led by Mada Group with Bouygues, Alstom, Eurostar and China Railway Engineering Corp;
  • the Saudi Binladen Group, with DB AG, Siemens, Ircon and Yapi Merkezi;
  • OHL International with CAF, Thales and ADIF plus other Spanish constuction firms.

SRO is also managing the tendering for the 945 km east-west Saudi Landbridge route between Riyadh and Jeddah, which is expected to cost around US$5bn to build. The shortlisted bidders for this project were due to submit their final bids by-mid February, and Transport Minister Dr Jabara Al-Suraisry said on January 25 that he expected the winner to be announced in April. The four teams shortlisted for the Landbridge in May 2006 are:

  • Saudi Binladen Group with Mitsui, Siemens, Ircon and DB AG;
  • Bouygues and Lazard with TSO, Samsung and Transtech Engineering of China, plus Halcrow, Ove Arup and Comazar;
  • Mada Group with SNC-Lavalin, Chinese Railways' 13th Construction Bureau, Mott MacDonald, CPCS Transcom and Rites.
  • PWC Logistics with Société Générale, Singapore's Overseas Port Management, Scott Wilson and Freightliner.

On January 21 Russian Railways announced that it had won a US$800m contract to finance and build the 520 km southern section of Saudi Arabia's north-south rail link. The mixed-traffic line will run from a new terminus near King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh to meet the mineral railway from Ras Azzawr at Al Zabirah. Contracts for the other three main sections of the 2 285 km network were awarded in April 2007 (RG 5.07 p247).