The cancellation of the tender procedure for the feasibility study and project idea for the railway line Durrës – Pristina has been used by the media as fuel to feed the ‘fire’ that ignited between the leaders of Albania and Kosovo, following the tensions created in the north in May 2023. A fact-check by Faktoje reveals that, in reality, the cancellation of the tender procedure occurred due to a complaint from one of the participating operators in the tender and not because of a “final split between Rama and Kurti,” as interpreted on the network.
The announcement of the cancellation of the procedure to tender the feasibility study and project concept for the Durrës – Pristina railway construction has been construed as a political manoeuvre by Prime Minister Rama against his counterpart in Kosovo, Albin Kurti.
“Based on documents obtained by Bold News, the Albanian Railways, an institution directly under the authority of Deputy Prime Minister Belinda Balluku, has revoked the tender for the feasibility study of the Durrës – Pristina railway. Balluku’s officials officially cancelled it citing document deficiencies, but what lies beneath is the tense relationship between Rama and Kurti,” wrote Bold News in the article dated July 25, 2023.
Indeed, whether deliberate or not, Bold News reported the tender’s cancellation just a day before the Albanian Railways re-announced the procedure.
In 2021, the Albanian and Kosovar governments entered into an agreement to collaboratively fund the construction of the Durrës – Pristina railway. Nearly a year later, on October 14, 2022, the Albanian Railways initiated the process for soliciting proposals for the feasibility study and project concept of the Durrës – Pristina railway line.
The news received extensive media coverage from the moment the tender announcement was made, specifying that participating operators had until November 2022 to submit their proposals.
The tender data indicated that it concerned the procurement of consultancy services for the feasibility study and project concept of the Durrës – Pristina railway line, with a maximum budget of 200 million and 225 thousand Albanian lekë (1.7 million euros).
The contract was initially planned to have a duration of 18 months starting from its signing. On December 8, 2022, the Public Procurement Commission informed the seven participating operators about their progress to the next phase or their disqualification from the competition.
- “Tecnica y Proyectos” S.A ———————————————————– qualified
- “Yuksel Proje” A.S ——————————————————————— qualified
- “Dromos Consulting” LTD ———————————————————– disqualified
- “Hill International” NV—————————————————————- disqualified
- BOE “ILF Consulting Engineers Austria” GmbH & “Abkons” SHPK——— disqualified
- “Studio Archimed” SHPK ———————————————————— disqualified
- “Tecnic Consulting Engineers” SpA———————————————— disqualified
Ten days following this notification, on December 19, 2022, a complaint was lodged with the Public Procurement Agency by one of the participants in the tender competition, specifically the economic operator alliance of “ILF Consulting Engineers Austria” GmbH & “Abkons” SHPK.
The basis for the complaint was associated with the decision of the Bid Evaluation Committee, which had disqualified the proposal put forth by this alliance of operators.