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Mitsubishi wins LRT tender
Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has been granted the MOP 4.688 billion contract to supply the rolling stock and the system for the first phase of the light rail transit, the Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) announced yesterday.
GIT director Lei Chan Tong said in the press conference that after the contract is signed, which is expected to be by mid-February, MHI will be given 47 months to complete all the construction works and after that, two more months until the mass transit should begin operation.
In other words, the first phase of the light rail, that can transport passengers between the Border Gate and Barra in the Macau peninsula and then via the Sai Van Bridge between the Jockey Club and the Pac On ferry terminal across Taipa and Cotai, should be up and running in early 2015, Lei said.
The other two joint ventures, established between Siemens and the state-owned China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (Siemens - CCECC Consortium), and between Canadian group Bombardier and the China Road and Bridge Corporation (BT CRBC LRT Consortium), proposed respectively a bidding price of MOP 6.281 billion and MOP 4.567 billion.
Lei said the two consortiums will be formally notified about their loss after MHI presents a bank guarantee to the Macau Government, meaning it has officially accepted the grant.
According to the GIT chief, the three bids were assessed based on a set of criteria stipulated before the international tender was launched in December 2009, in which the company’s financial status including the bidding price constituted 55 percent of the overall score and the technical skills made up 45 percent.
He disclosed that all the three bidders met the tender requirements, but Mitsubishi has “the lightest trains among the three, does not require the Sai Van Bridge to renew the wires and proposed the smallest amount of changes to the bridge’s main structure”.
In early November, lawmaker Jose Pereira Coutinho accused the GIT in an enquiry sent to the Legislative Assembly of having preselected Mitsubishi as the winning bidder in July and also of having “secret meetings” with the Japanese giant.
When asked about whether Mitsubishi’s win would “further confirm” the allegation, Lei said it was a “misunderstanding” and called it a “rumour”.
He explained that according to the laws, GIT is required to deliver the drafted contract to the highest-score bidder for opinions before the contract is officially granted to it.
“There needs to have a consensus between the two sides before the contract can be signed. During which a lot of discussions and explanations are involved. I believe the public has misunderstood this process,” Lei told reporters.
The model of the Mitsubishi trains is Crystal Mover which is also running in Singapore, South Korea’s Incheon International Airport as well as the Washington Dulles International Airport and the Miami International Airport in the US.
Macau will operate four-cabin trains with a passenger volume of 476, stretching 47 metres long, 2.8 metres wide and 3.9 metres high.
GIT said the LRT phase one will initially aim at transporting 7,800 passengers in each direction per hour, which will soar to 14,100 passengers by 2020.
The rail is set to operate 19 hours a day and with three to five minute intervals.
The office also disclosed that the construction of the main body of the Taipa route is expected to kick off first in mid-2011, followed by the rest of the Taipa/Cotai route and lastly the Macau route.
The light rail construction has suffered major delays. In October 2007 Secretary for Transport and Public Works Lau Si On said the construction should start in the second half of 2008 and the system would become operational at the end of 2011.
A ‘mysterious’ complaint
Meanwhile, a news release signed off by the BT CRBC LRT Consortium with a copy of Chinese calligraphy by ex-Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah congratulating the joint venture for being the lowest-price bidder was faxed to the local media yesterday during the GIT press conference.
When MDT called the China phone number from the release to talk to the “Asia-Pacifc Affairs senior head” listed on the release, a man, named Huang Jin-chuan told the MDT that Mitsubishi did not deserve the contract as it is “very unprofessional” and did not offer the lowest bidding price.
“The Commission Against Corruption must find problems if it investigates into the matter [...] I hope the whole tender could be conducted fairly. We’ll decide whether or not to appeal after discussions,” he said on the phone.
However, managing director of China Road and Bridge Corporation Kan Jun, said he had no idea about the news release and never heard of this “Asia-Pacifc Affairs senior head”.
Kan said the consortium will analyse how the score was assessed before deciding whether or not to appeal the tender results.
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