Contract negotiations to decide Arbri Road saga

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 9, 2017 13:05

Contract negotiations to decide Arbri Road saga

Story Highlights

  • Gjoka Konstruksion, an Albanian-run company which earlier this year was awarded a 10 percent bonus for its unsolicited bid after the failure of the 2015 contract negotiations with a Chinese company, was the apparent winner of the late October 2017 tender, facing no rivalry from two other Albanian companies disqualified for not submitting financial bids

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TIRANA, Nov. 9 – An Albanian company has been announced the winner of the long-awaited Arbri road linking Albania to Macedonia, paving the way for contract negotiations which if successful would conclude a decade-long project also serving the underdeveloped northern Albania Dibra region.

Gjoka Konstruksion, an Albanian-run company which earlier this year was awarded a 10 percent bonus for its unsolicited bid after the failure of the 2015 contract negotiations with a Chinese company, was the apparent winner of the late October 2017 tender, facing no rivalry from two other Albanian companies disqualified for not submitting financial bids, according to the Public Procurement Agency.

The Albanian-run company, which has been engaged in several major public works infrastructure projects in the past two decades, has bid to build the highway’s remaining 40 km segment for 33.6 billion lek (€250 million) in a public private partnership that is expected to receive government financial support for 13 years and allow the concessionaire to introduce a tolling system once the highway is completed.

The Arbri highway is one of the major projects on the government’s Euro 1 billion PPP ambitious agenda on road, health and education investments for the next few years.

The 13-year concession contract is expected to cost Albanians a total of about 24 billion lek (€177 mln) until 2030 in payments either through installments covering the investment cost or guarantees on the concessionaire’s revenue, in this case traffic guarantees in case the concessionaire does not meet annual targets from the tolling system.

The Albanian company which has proposed a 69 km highway with a tunnel and a bypass is planning to fund part of the highway investment by introducing €4 tolls.

If materialized, the project will be vital for the underdeveloped northeastern region of Dibra, mainly relying on agriculture and mining.

Back in 2015, the Albanian government approved a special law offering China State Construction Engineering Corporation to complete the Arbri Road under a concession deal but contract negotiations failed.

The project is also expected to boost trade exchanges with landlocked neighbouring Macedonia and make access to Durres Port easier. In addition, the tourism sector is also expected to get boost as tourists from Macedonia, where more than a quarter of its 2 million population is ethnic Albanian, are the second top foreign visitors to Albania.

Bujar Karoshi, the publisher of the local “Rruga e Arbrit” monthly newspaper named after the Arbri Road and dedicated to developments in the Dibra region says it’s high time the government signed the Arbri Road contract and stopped dragging it.

In an op-ed on the Albanian government’s decision to hold its next Nov. 11 meeting in the town of Peshkopia, Dibra region, journalist Karoshi, a native of Dibra, says the local residents “have had enough with stories of procedures, deadlines, unexpected difficulties, lack of project or bad project and other non-sense arguments only to delay start of works.”

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 9, 2017 13:05