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20 Mar, 2012

Cambodian Railways Project Takes One More Step to Complete “Missing Link”

The Cambodian Railway Project took one more step forward on 16 March with a call for procurement of 1,900 tons of additional rails which will be used to complete the last missing links in preparation for completion of the project by September 2013.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its development partners are providing over $100 million to rehabilitate the 650 kilometers of Cambodia’s national railway, which has fallen into a state of significant disrepair following years of neglect and vandalism dating back to the Khmer Rouge era. The first loan for the project was extended in 2006.

Upon completion, the railway will position Cambodia as a subregional transport hub, creating new jobs and business opportunities in the manufacturing and logistic services sectors. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of Cambodia’s transport system will also be enhanced, thus increasing the competitiveness of the Cambodian economy.

The Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport is inviting bids for procurement of 700 Metric Ton BS 80A and 1,200 Metric Ton P43 Rails Grade R260 conforming to EN13674-1, 12.50 Meter Long Rails. Deadline for bid submission is 30 April 2012.

Bidders should meet the following qualification requirements, amongst others: minimum average annual turnover of US$15 million within the last three years; should have access to US$2.50 million to meet the project cash flow; should have manufactured at least 5,700 metric tons of rails in single or multiple lots during any one of the last three years.

The Bidding Document may be purchased upon payment of a nonrefundable fee of US$ 100 by writing to Mr. Ly Borin, Project Director, Railway Rehabilitation Management Office,  Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Corner Norodom Blvd. and Street 106, Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Telephone: +855 – 23 – 723 613; Facsimile number: +855 – 23 – 427 132. Email: rrmo_rwy1@camnet.com.kh.

Bids must be delivered at or before 14:00 Hours Cambodian Standard Time on 30 April 2012. Bids will be opened in the presence of the Bidders’ representatives who choose to attend at 14:30 Hours the same day.

Cambodia has granted a joint venture between Toll Holdings Ltd. of Australia and the Royal Group of Cambodia (called Toll Royal Railways) a business concession to operate the railway.  These operations are entirely separate from the railway rehabilitation project.

The first 100 km of rail has been open to limited freight traffic since October 2010, and works are ongoing on the rest of the network. The project completion date is September 2013.

On 30 January 2012, the ADB said the railway track had reached Poipet, with the 42 kilometers of railway reconstruction between Serei Saophoan and Poipet nearly complete.

Still remaining is the six-kilometer rail line linking Poipet to the Thai border which has just started. Completion of this stretch, known as the missing link, will be an historic moment, creating for the first time a train connection with Thailand in Northeast Cambodia.

The entire railroad stretches from Sihanoukville in the south, through the capital Phnom Penh and up to the northern border with Thailand. Over the years, an increasing number of families living too close to the railway have been asked to move to make way for the line upgrade.

According to the ADB, “As with all resettlement programs, compensation and income restoration are complex and difficult challenges. In an effort to expand income restoration activities for families who have been affected by the project, AusAID provided additional grant financing of AUD 1 million (USD 960,000 equivalent) in November 2011, and discussions about further expansion are ongoing.

“In Cambodia, where land ownership rights are still in the process of being redefined after private land ownership was abolished by the Khmer Rouge regime, resettlement is an inherently complex process. The vast majority of families resettled under the project had no land titles for the properties they occupied.

“Notwithstanding the issues that still need to be resolved, many families resettled by the project will have the opportunity to own legal land titles for the first time in their lives, with improved living conditions and better access to water and electricity provided in the new communities.”