Contractors evacuated from Libya hope for swift return to stability

23 August 2011

Airport and rail projects had been progressing well until uprising began

Contractors involved in major infrastructure projects in Libya hope to restart work as soon as stability returns to the country.

Most construction under way in Libya is centred on the upgrade of the country’s transport and infrastructure links. The work in Libya had been progressing well, especially on airport and rail projects until violence erupt in February. Work then quickly stopped and staff were evacuated from projects.

Two major projects in Libya involve the upgrade and expansion of Tripoli and Sebha International airports. Turkey’s TAV is working on both. The first is at Tripoli with its partners Athens-based Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) and Brazil’s Oderbrecht. The second is at Sebha, again with CCC.

“Since the Turkish government recognised the [Libyan] transition government at an early stage of the revolt, we believe Turkish companies and especially TAV will have a good position in Libya,” says Yusuf Akcayoglu, regional director of the TAV Group.

“We do expect to continue construction activities in Tripoli International airport and Sebha airport as soon as stabilisation starts.”

Another key infrastructure project is the $7.9bn coastal high-speed railway. It is designed to run through the major cities in Libya, linking Egypt and Tunisia.

Germany’s Dorsch Afrique is the consultant carrying out a feasibility study for the final part of the coastal railway. The $2bn high-speed line will run between Benghazi and Tobrouk in the east of the country. Work stalled in March and is yet to resume.

Dorsch Afrique is also working on the design of 150 kilometres of high-speed track running from Tobrouk to Umm Saad on the Egyptian border.

At present, all work continues to be on hold. A source close to the project says even when the military situation is calmer, it will still take time to rebuild the Libyan administration and secure the necessary financing.

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