Dubai Light Rail builder must find project funds

150 million people are expected to use the 72 kilometre long light rail system every year

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By  Eudore Chand Published  October 16, 2004

The Dubai Government has asked companies eager to build the Dubai Metro to put up 90% of the estimated Dhs14.3 billion cost. Initially, the government would provide only 10% of the winning bid amount. Another exceptional feature of the financing is that the five shortlisted consortia (Construction Week Issue 34 and 37), have been asked to choose repayment of the invested amount either over 12 years, 15 years or 20 years. “We will, of course, decide what is the best option for us when the offers come in from the shortlisted bidders,” Nasser Saeed, coordinator general of Dubai Light Rail project told Construction Week. The government seems to have done its sums very well indeed. It reckons that some 150 million people would use the Dubai Metro every year. And, if the average price of a single fare was Dhs3, that alone would bring in Dhs450 million a year. On top of that will be the revenues from the sale of space for various facilities at stations, and within the cars, for advertisement. This is expected to garner another Dhs50 million. “Roughly the revenue is expected at Dhs500 million a year. We expect to pay Dhs200 million for operations and maintenance and another Dhs300 million towards capital cost (repayment to the contractor),” Saeed explained. The consortia that have been approved include global majors who will be capable of executing the entire project including the provision of buildings and the rolling stock. The five are: Belfinger Berger (Germany), Taisei (Japan), Besix (UAE) and Alstom (France); Vinci (France), Hochtief (Germany), CCIC (UAE) and Ansaldo (Italy); Obayashi (Japan), Yapi Merkesi (Turkey) and Mitsubishi (Japan); Odebrecht (Brazil) and Bombardier (Canada); and Saudi bin Ladin Group (Saudi Arabia) and Diwidag and Siemens of Germany. The tendering process will be in two stages to optimise time. The prequalified consortia will have to submit their bids on the rolling stock and part of the MEP works by the 1st November 2004, which the developer of the project, Dubai Municipality and consultant Systra, will evaluate in the period up to the 31st January 2005. By 31st January 2005, the consortia would have to submit their civil works bid and the choice of repayment plans. “The first target date is 1st November 2004, by when the bidders will have to submit their proposals for the rolling stock and electromechanical related works. To save time, we shall study and analyse the offers between November and end of January. The second submission of civil works will come on 31st January, which we shall study in the following months. We hope to announce the winner by March or April 2005,” said the project coordinator general. He said civil works could start as early as May or June. The first phase will take an estimated maximum of 48 months to complete. The ambit of the civil works will include tunneling work, line and station facilities, electro-mechanical equipment including air-conditioning, ventilation, elevators, escalators and dewatering; depot facilities (civil works only) and public utilities relocation (unless these are carried out by the public utility itself). The rail system scope of works includes the rail system, automatic train controls, operations control centre, communications and fare collection systems, traction power and energy, platform screen doors, track works, maintenance facilities and maintenance during the initial three years and operational assistance (of about five qualified operating staff) for the initial three years. The project is to be undertaken in two phases stretching about 72 km. The first phase will see the construction of the Red Line, which will run for about 43 km from near the Dubai airport in front of the Rashidya Park, through Garhoud, Riqqa Street to Union Square and then across the Creek to BurJuman and Sheikh Zayed Road to end at Dubai Marina. Some 3.5 km of it, mostly in the downtown area, will be underground. The remainder of the line, more than 39 km, will be elevated.

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