Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication has shortlisted global professional service firms PwC and KPMG together with local technical services firm Al Zayani Engineering for the Transaction Advisory contract on phase one of the estimated $2 billion Bahrain Metro Rail project following a tender call in February.
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According to the tender, the winning firm will provide financial, technical and legal advisory on the project’s first of four phases – featuring two lines covering 29 kilometers of elevated track and consisting of 20 stations out of a slated 109 kilometer network across six lines – with support services to the Ministry to include the preparation of documents, tendering, evaluation and appointment of the project’s design, construction and operating bidders.
Initially conceived of in 2008, before being temporarily shelved due to financial concerns, the Bahrain Metro Rail project has since been included in Bahrain’s Public Transport Masterplan 2030, which in turn forms part of the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030 agenda.
For the first phase, designed to carry 43,000 passengers per hour, two lines are to be constructed, with the ‘Red Line’ connecting Bahrain International Airport with the suburban Seef District through the Bahrain Financial Harbour and a second ‘Blue Line’ servicing commuters between the suburb of Juffair through the Diplomatic Area and to Isa Town, with a cross-over at a Central Station and connections to buses and taxi services along the route.
Featuring driverless electric carriages, the project seeks to reduce local traffic congestion and air pollution, as well as provide a reliable and cost-effective world-class public transportation system which can in turn address increased urbanisation and attract greater foreign investment. While Bahrain is said to have a $32 billion infrastructure investment plan currently in place, part of the financing for the rail project is expected to come from private investment.
The upcoming Bahrain Rail Congress 2019, held over the 7th and 8th of August and featuring around 250 government representatives, industry experts, and tech leaders will “explore how to create successful collaborations between public and private sectors and ways to fully leverage the modernisation opportunities” through a series of “presentations, panel discussions, case studies, interviews, demos, innovations and roundtable discussions.”
“We are looking for proper railway infrastructure that is able to match others in the GCC if not better; it is not a matter of competition on the availability of services, but our ability to attract direct investments to the country in the transportation field or other industries that may opt to open in the region,” said Northern Municipal Council chairman Ahmed Al Kooheji. “Hopefully, the congress will speed things up at a time when financing projects is difficult amongst several priorities.”
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