The deadline for requesting to participate in the two-phase tender to upgrade the Hungarian stretch of the Budapest-Belgrade rail line is January 19, 2018.
The contracting entity is Chinese-Hungarian Railway Nonprofit Ltd, the tender invitation published on the website of Hungarian state railways MÁV on Monday shows.
State-owned China Railway International Corporation and China Railway International Group hold a combined 85 percent of Chinese-Hungarian Railway Nonprofit and MAV holds 15 percent.
The contract concerns activities from design, procurement, construction, to commissioning and handover of the project to the end-user or the owner.
The upgrade is for a 152km railway line stretching between Soroksár, on the outskirts of Budapest, and Kelebia, on the Serbian border, with mixed traffic.
Invitations expected to be dispatched to the candidates selected by March 19 next year.
The duration of the contract is 86 months and covers construction of 374 track kilometres, 18 grade-separated and 89 level crossings, 590.4 metres of bridges and the reconstruction of about 444 kilometres of catenary wire and supply wire among others.
As we wrote yesterday, upgrading the line in Hungary is expected to cost 550 billion forints (EUR 1.7bn) and could start by the end of 2020, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Sunday. The upgrade is being 85 percent financed with a 20-year loan from Exim Bank of China, and Hungary is paying an annual rate of 2.5 percent on the 20-year loan, he said.
China wants to use the rail line as part of a corridor for the export of goods to Europe.
Chinese-Hungarian Railway was set up in the autumn of 2016 based on an intergovernmental agreement between China and Hungary on the project and its financing signed in November 2015.
As we wrote on July, Hungary’s government has decided to invest 74.6 billion forints (EUR 243m) in rail lines in south-east Hungary, János Lázár, the government office chief, told a weekly press briefing on Thursday.
As we wrote on April, the first direct freight train between China and Hungary arrived in Budapest, carrying more than 1 million US dollars worth of clothing, electronics, toys and steel.