Bidding consortiums for the contract to design and build the new metro link to the Dubai Expo 2020 site are preparing financing packages to be submitted with commercial bids.

Consortium members are speaking to export credit agencies (ECAs) and banks from their home countries and the region.

If a team wins, the lenders are prepared to extend a medium-term corporate loan to the project owner, Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA).

The RTA is also lining up commercial banks for a loan, and has told bidders that financing packages are not obligatory. This would be worth more than $2bn, or up to 80 per cent of the project’s cost, according to UK news agency Reuters.

The authority will consider the successful bidder’s financing proposal, but may be able to secure more competitive terms itself. It could also directly fund the scheme, depending on the terms it can secure.

An attractive financing package could give contractors a competitive advantage, but the terms offered by ECAs are expected to be broadly similar.

MEED reported in January that five consortiums had submitted technical bids:

  • Mapa Gunal (Turkey) / China Railway Group (China) / CSR Corporation (China)
  • Acciona (Spain) / Gulermak (Turkey) / Alstom (France)
  • Obayashi (Japan) / Wade Adams (local) / Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC; Athens-based) / Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (Japan)
  • Orascom (Egypt) / Yapi Merkezi (Turkey) / GS Engineering & Construction (South Korea) / Siemens (Germany)
  • Nurol (Turkey) / Astaldi (Italy) / Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (Spain)

The extension, known as Route 2020, involves building a 15-kilometre-long line branching off the existing Red Line at the Nakheel Harbour & Tower station, between the Ibn Battuta Mall and Jumeirah Lake Towers stations.

About 11km of the line will be elevated, with five elevated stations and two underground stations.

In 2014, a joint venture of the US’ Parsons International and France’s Systra began the preliminary engineering for the new metro line.