Aus & NZ: Cross River Rail shortlist out mid-February

31 January 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Queensland’s Cross River Rail Authority is set to shortlist consortia for the AUD 5.4bn (USD 4.37bn) project’s tunnels and stations PPP within the next few weeks.

It is understood three groups have been notified and government and bid sources say they will be publicly announced in mid-February following a Cross River Rail Authority board meeting.

Two bidder and and two adviser sources say a request for proposal process will start off in late March or early April, with responses due by around September or October.

The winning consortium is expected be announced in early 2019 ahead of contractual close in about April 2019.

Government sources said there has been no delay in the process due to the state election held in November, although it seems the process has been set back by about a month as the original timetable said an RFP would be issued in February.

Bid groups appear to have formed around three well known contenders in transport PPPs: Plenary Group, Capella Capital and CIMIC.

Filings with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show Capella Capital recently changed the name of its Cross River Rail Finance Pty Ltd registered in October 2017 to Qonnect Finance Pty Ltd. Plenary has registered Plenary Investments (CRR) Pty Ltd.

Investor and adviser sources familiar with the matter say Plenary’s consortium include Acciona, Ghella and Korean firm GS Engineering and Construction. Capella Capital is understood to have on board parent Lend Lease Engineering and John Holland, as well as QIC. CIMIC has its finance arm Pacific Partnerships and building subsidiary CPB Contractors. Salini Impregilo is also understood to be in its group.

Superannuation fund Cbus has also expressed interest in investing in transport PPPs this year. It recently told Inframation its new direct investment team is keen on PPP investments, especially those with property development opportunities. 

A spokesperson for Cbus declined to comment.

The Cross River Rail Tunnels and Stations PPP includes developing the above ground area around a new Albert Street Station in the centre of Brisbane, a “retail plaza” at a new Roma Street station as well as retail developments underground at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Roma Street and Exhibition Street stations.

There may be more detail publicly released on the timeline for Queensland’s biggest infrastructure project on Friday when it is understood Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad will speak at the Goprint site in Woolloongabba where the first major demolition work for a new station began in October 2017 and was due to conclude in January.

Cross River Rail will be 10.2km long, with the 20-30 year PPP concession covering the construction and maintenance of 5.9km of twin tunnels running under Brisbane city centre and the Brisbane River, as well as four new underground stations – Boggo Road, Albert Street, Woolloongabba and Roma Street – and the upgrade of two existing stations – Exhibition and Dutton Park.

A tender is also underway for a separate “alliance contract” known as the Rail, Integration & Systems alliance for signaling, telecommunications systems, electrical and extra civil engineering work around Exhibition Street. State-run Queensland Rail will procure some aspects, including the train control systems known as ETCS. Two shortlisted bid groups are also expected to be announced in February for this contract.

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Cross River Rail