Some 26 prospective bidders submitted expressions of interest, of which the following have been prequalified:

ITALFERR, Italy;

CPCS Transcom, Canada, in joint venture with Holland Rail Consultand Beirut-based Dar al-Handasah (Shair & Partners);

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in joint venture with Systra, France, and Consolidated Consultants, local;

Earth Tech, US, in joint venture with Wilbur Smith Associates, US, and Consolidated Consultants, local;

Arabtech-Jardaneh, local, in joint venture with Arup, UK.

The winner will provide a wide-ranging assessment of the feasibility of expanding the network, including a study of financing options, an implementation programme and finalising the alignment of the north-south and east-west railway lines. The study, which updates one carried out in 1995-96, will also examine ways to attract foreign investment. Transport Ministry sources say that public-private partnership or build-operate-transfer (BOT) models are currently being considered (MEED 8:10:04).

www.meed.com/transport