International tender launched for the Rail Baltica main line construction in Latvia

On 12 November, the Rail Baltica national implementing body in Latvia – company Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas – launched the largest tender for the construction of the Rail Baltica railway line in Latvia.

The tender “Rail Baltica main line construction in Latvia” aims for an early contractor involvement to carry out the Rail Baltica mainline, and infrastructure construction works in Latvia (outside the capital city of Riga). The international tender for the construction works will be carried out in two stages. It is expected that the winner will be chosen, and contract concluded at the end of 2022, ensuring that the construction of the new railway line can start in the first half of 2023.

Up to 85% of the project is financed from the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility with the remaining part being ensured by the Latvian state budget.

Tālis Linkaits, Minister of Transport: “This is an important next step in the development of Rail Baltica that certifies Latvia’s readiness to implement the project as soon as possible. The reconstruction of the Riga Central station section has been proceeding already for a year and the construction of the Rail Baltica infrastructure at the Riga International Airport section has also started. We are now taking key steps to be prepared for the new railway line construction. The construction is intended to be implemented sequentially in accordance with the readiness of the sections. The most technically prepared section up to date is the southern part to the Latvia – Lithuania border. In this way, we can do our best to ensure that Latvia is connected to the European railway system in 2026 as planned and the people of Latvia can assess the benefits of the new railway line for convenient everyday journeys.”

Henrik Hololei, European Comission Director-General for Mobility and Transport: “This announcement is good news for Rail Baltica and the North Sea Baltic corridor! The mainline is a key missing link on the corridor and it is essential to bring the Baltic region – from Kaunas, to Tallinn and beyond – closer and better connect it to central Europe. It underlines the importance Latvia attaches to Rail Baltica and is fully in line with the European Commission’s position on the importance of the North-South connection.”

“It is important that despite the different challenges and the Covid-19 impact, all project partners can ensure smooth cooperation and make decisions that are important for further development of the project. This is clearly the case with this procurement,” says Agnis Driksna, RB Rail AS Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Management Board. “This is the first of upcoming tenders of the Rail Baltica main line that is announced under the new financial planning period 2021-2027. Relatively soon there will be new procurements launched in Estonia and Lithuania, that way also confirming the maturity of the project and the unified implementation of the project at all stages of the route.”

Kaspars Vingris, Chairman of the Board of Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas: “This tender will be the largest for the construction of the mainline in Latvia. Early contractor involvement is an internationally accredited practice that allows to consolidate the responsibility for project execution while ensuring the so-called adaptive construction process: construction will be carried out in line with the maturity of the phases of the project allowing more efficient use of financial resources and construction materials as well as to act responsibly within the available EU funding. Such practice secures resource mobilization of the selected company and allows to provide consultations during the design process what leads to effective construction cost optimization.”

The winner of the tender will have to provide construction works of substructure and superstructure for the Rail Baltica railway line of more than 200 km in the territory of Latvia and outside the limits of Riga city, including preparation of the territory, construction of embankments, railway bridges, roads, overpasses and rails and shift of networks.

The construction of railway electrification and signalling sub-systems will not be procured within the framework of the announced tender. To implement common approach and considering the complexity of these railway systems and the high system safety requirements, new procurement is planned to be launched centrally by the Rail Baltica joint venture and global project coordinator RB Rail AS.

Given the tender’s (“Rail Baltica main line construction in Latvia”) scope, the candidate must have at least 7 years of experience in the construction of railways and other engineering infrastructure. Contracting authority is willing to attract construction companies with an annual turnover appropriate to the scale of the project. Previous experience in implementing the Rail Baltica project in Latvia has shown that Latvian construction companies form partnerships with foreign professionals, approbating local and global experience in the executions of such projects.

The candidate must have a quality management and environmental management systems and be experienced in a building information modelling (BIM) environment. An international tender will allow to choose the best combination of cost and professional experience within candidates.

Tender will be held in two stages: during the first stage candidates will be selected therefore evaluation and discussions of proposals, submission of final proposals and the conclusion of the procurement contract will take place in the second stage.

Candidates must apply for the tender by 28 January 2022. The second stage is planned to be announced in April 2022 to conclude a contract with the winner of the second procurement stage at the end of 2022 and start the construction works in the first half of 2023.

Procurement regulations and all its annexes are available on the E-Tenders system of Latvia.

Construction works for the remaining sections and structures will be procured in separate tenders, including the sections of the mainline in the city of Riga (from Riga Airport to Torņkalns Station and from the Central Railway Station to Acone), mainline cross-border sections on the Latvia/Estonia and Latvia/Lithuania borders (total about 20 km long on the territory of Latvia) and the construction of the future Salaspils multimodal freight terminal.

Contracts have already been signed and construction works are ongoing at the Rail Baltica Central Hub: construction of the Riga Central Railway Station and construction of the Riga Airport Railway Station.

The total length of the Rail Baltica railway line in Latvia is approximately 260 km starting at the Lithuania-Latvia border and running through 10 municipal territories: Bauska, Ķekava, Olaine, Mārupe county, the capital city Riga towards the direction of Estonia through Salaspils, Ropaži, Sigulda, Saulkrasti and Limbaži counties.