Since the beginning of last year the Empresa Colombiana de Vias Ferreas ("FERROVIAS") initiated public bidding processes in order to grant concessions for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the Atlantic and Pacific railway system of the country pursuant to Laws 105 and 80 of 1993. The Bidding process for the concession of the 1.500 kilometers of the Atlantic system was initiated on January of 1997. The concession was granted in October of the same year to a Spanish - led Consortium called FEPAZ. Dragados y Construcciones as leader, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) of Spain, Fenit Servizi SPA and Sotecni SPA of Italy, Rites Ltd. of India and nine Colombian partners make up the Consortium.

On March 4 of this year, the bidding process for the Pacific railway system was opened. The offered concession consists of 499 kms. divided into four sections. The first one between Buenaventura and Cali, 174 kms ; the second one between Cali and Cartago, 173 kms. ; the third one between Cartago and La Felisa, 112 kms. ; and the last one between Zarzal and La Tebaida 40 kms. The concession will be granted for a 30 year period in which the concessionaire will be in charge of the rehabilitation, maintenance and conservation of the railway system. The concessionare shall also guarantee an efficient operation and an adequate railway cargo transport system.

According to Government calculations, the rehabilitation of the Buenaventura - La Felisa section, including the Zarzal - La Tebaida section, will cost approximately 120 million dollars. Colombia will pay the 120 million dollars during the first four years of the thirty years concession. The construction, risks and operation will be undertaken by the concessionaire.

The time limit for the proposal preparation is 76 days and it shall be presented before July 2nd, 1998. The reference terms for the proposals are available at FERROVÍAS.

Prepared by Monica Restrepo from Gomez Pinzon & Asociados, Bogota, Colombia.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide but specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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