All Koper-Divača review procedures complete as Strabag’s appeal rejected

Ljubljana – The National Review Commission has rejected the appeal by the Austrian builder Strabag against the decision by the state-owned company 2TDK to pick a Slovenian-headed consortium as the contractor for the Divača-Črni Kal section of the new railway to the port of Koper. This ends all review procedures related to the project.

Strabag appealed in late March the decision by 2TDK to entrust the section to Kolektor CPG in partnership with the Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Özaltin as the cheapest bidder.

The cost of the section was capped at EUR 472 million. The Kolektor CPG-led consortium offered to build it for EUR 403.6 million, while Strabag submitted a EUR 463.5 million bid in partnership with the German company Ed Züblin and Turkish Gülermak Agir.

The National Review Commission said on Tuesday that in the legal protection procedure, Strabag did not prove the allegations that the contracting authority has violated the bidder’s right related to insight into the selected bid.

The allegation that the contracting authority has committed a violation by not conducting a procedure in the case of unusually low bids has not been proven, either, it added.

“As the contracting authority received only two bids, the decision whether to carry out the procedure of examination of an unusually low bid was in the realm of its autonomous discretion,” the commission said.

The decision effectively ends the review procedures requested in all phases of the procedure of legal protection related to the submission of bids for the principal works in the Koper-Divača rail project.

National Review Commission president Samo Červek told the STA that the procedure had been demanding from the aspect of legal protection, and that the “politicisation of the project” had added extra weight.

“Several reviews were carried out in several phases of the procedure,” he said, noting that the relevant documentation had also been very extensive.

“This project was subjected to politicisation for the entire time and this is why it was so much more demanding – the project was of interest to the public, media and politics, as a lot of money is in play,” Červek added.

The consortium around Kolektor CPG has also been picked to build the section of the railway between Črni Kal and Koper as the only bidder, with the cost estimate of EUR 224.7 million. The cost of the section was capped at EUR 230.7 million.

2TDK signed the contract with the selected bidder for the first section on 31 March and work on the section is expected to begin in May.

What is currently the largest construction project in the country is slated for completion in 2025, with the track to be opened to traffic the next year.