Pelješac Bridge Tender Appeals to Be Resolved in Weeks

By 2 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 2, 2018 - The proceedings initiated by the appeals of the Austrian company Strabag and of a consortium comprising Italy's Astaldi and Turkey's IC Ictas against Hrvatske Ceste's decision to entrust the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) with the construction of Pelješac Bridge can be brought to a completion in two to three weeks, the chairman of the State Commission for the Supervision of Public Procurement Procedures, Goran Matešić, said at a business conference in Zagreb on Friday.

The appeals by the two bidders were lodged with the commission in late January.

The appeals proceedings are at the routine stage now and they can be completed in two or three weeks' time, Matešić said at the business conference organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the above-mentioned Croatian state commission on the application of e-appeals in public procurement.

Pelješac Bridge, which is to connect the southern Dalmatian peninsula of Pelješac with the mainland and thus connect Dubrovnik-Neretva County with the rest of the country, will facilitate the transport of people and goods throughout the year, notably during the peak tourist season.

The state-run road operator Hrvatske Ceste said on January 12 that, of the three bids submitted for the first stage of construction work on Pelješac Bridge, it had selected the one by China Road and Bridge Corporation worth 2.08 billion kuna, not including VAT.

On 29 January, Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming said he was not surprised by the appeals submitted by companies which competed in a tender for the construction of the bridge in which CRBC was selected as the most favourable bid, but added that he was surprised by their arguments, which in his opinion are "unfounded."

The other two bidders complained about the Chinese consortium dumping pricing policy and the fact that some of the companies in the Chinese consortium were state owned or received state subsidies to facilitate their entry to the EU market.

I am not surprised by the fact that the competition has filed appeals. They are entitled to do that. I am surprised by their arguments, Ambassador Hu said at a news conference, adding that both arguments by the competition were unfounded.