The Russian state-owned rail group is still smarting from being dropped as the winner of the fourth construction package on the North-South line. In August, the company said it was freezing all operations in Saudi Arabia while it sought an explanation from the client- the Public Investment Fund (PIF), part of the Finance Ministry – as to why it had been dropped from the project after a successful bid last year. The package is now being retendered (MEED 15:8:08).

The dispute appeared to cast doubt on Russian Railways’ participation in the forthcoming bidding on the Haramain project. The firm is part of the Saudi Oger Consortium bidding to build the line.

However, both Russian Railways and Saudi Oger have now made it clear that while Moscow continues to press the PIF for an answer, the Russian firm remains a member of the bidding consortium. “The tender [for the North-South deal] is cancelled and we will not be rebidding,” says one Russian Railways official. “However, we are still working with our partners on the Mecca-Medina line.”

“The consortium is still committed to this project, across all phases, and the whole consortium is coming with us, including Russian Railways,” says Munzer Kahwaji, business development manager at Saudi Oger.