News2019.12.04 15:59

Lithuania's €363m railway electrification stalls over tendering process

Paulius Viluckas, BNS 2019.12.04 15:59

Lithuanian Transport Minister Jaroslav Narkevič refuses to sign a major railway electrification contract, after initiating an audit earlier in October into the winning 363-million-euro bid by a Spanish-led consortium.

"It is obvious to everyone that the minister cannot sign that decision," leader of the Narkevič's Polish-minority party, Valdemar Tomaševski, told reporters on Wednesday.

The planned 363-million-euro contract between state-owned Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) and a consortium led by Spain's Elecnor is subject to approval by Narkevič as the state railway company's shareholder.

Electrified lines make up a mere 9 percent of Lithuania's total railway network, the lowest percentage in the EU where the average figure is 52.7 percent.

Tomaševski questioned the results of the tendering process, noting that Elecnor's bid was 40 million euros more expensive than that of the runner-up, Spain's Cobra Instalaciones Y Servicio.

The leader of Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania–Christian Families Alliance said he wondered why the three phases of the electrification project had been combined into one.

"Nobody can deny that [the aim was] to increase the size of the contract to prevent some companies from winning it," Tomaševski said. "The internal audit will look into all the information."

The electrification project involves three stages: the Vilnius railway hub, the Kaišiadorys-Radviliškis railway section, and the Radviliškis-Klaipėda section.

Once appointed transport minister, Narkevič initiated an audit of the tender process. He told BNS in late October that the audit would look into the potential implications of cancelling the tendering.

The minister told the parliament's Committee on Economics on Wednesday that the preliminary findings of the audit were ready, but provided no further details.

In November, Lithuanian Railways named Elecnor's joint 363-million-euro bid with Instalaciones Inabense as the winning offer.

Cobra Instalaciones Y Servicio's 323-million-euro bid came in second.

LRT has been certified according to the Journalism Trust Initiative Programme

Newest, Most read