Showing posts with label Blown Asphalt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Blown Asphalt. Show all posts

March 13, 2018

Politics of Road Buliding- The Portughese Way

Malawi: Presidency’s ‘sweetheart contractor’ Mota-Engil grabs the lion’s share of road contracts

It is widely seen as the Malawi presidency’s sweetheart contractor. And a leaked official report lends weight to this perception, showing that Portuguese-based multinational engineering firm Mota-Engil has almost 10 times the value of government road-building contracts as its nearest rival.

This story was supported by the Centre for Investigative Journalism Malawi, in association with the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism

A report by the Roads Authority (RA) shows that Portuguese-based multinational engineering firm Mota-Engil currently has road contracts in Malawi with a combined value of 142-billion Malawi kwacha (R2.4-billion).

By contrast, the second most-favoured company, Zhajoung of China, is engaged in government road projects worth just K14.9-million (R250-million).

A high-ranking executive from a rival civil engineering company, who asked to remain anonymous, said the feeling among competitors was that Mota-Engil was the principal beneficiary of Malawi government tenders.

“We cannot protest the conduct of government when it comes to awarding these projects to Mota-Engil because the construction industry in Malawi is guided by politics,” the executive said.

Asked for comment, Mota-Engil’s public relations officer, Thomas Chafunya, said any questions should be directed to the Malawi government and the RA.

“We are the bidding and contracted party, but they are the contracting authority and owners of the projects on behalf of Malawi,” he said.

The RA’s public relations manager, Portia Kajanga, insisted that the authority follows the Public Procurement Act.

Kajanga said all donor-funded projects must follow donor requirements and guidelines, meaning that “the RA follows transparent procurement systems – there is no bias in the award of contracts”.

Kanjanga also said the RA manages numerous projects under the government’s recurrent and development programmes.

“Under the development programme, the authority is managing 10 contracts, five of which are being executed by Mota-Engil and the rest managed by different contractors,” she said.

According to the Roads Authority report, Mota-Engil has been contracted to build the Thyolo-Makwasa-Thekerani-Makhanga road, funded to the tune of K27.3-million (R450-million) by the Malawi government, the Kuwait Fund, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Saudi Fund and Opec.

Construction on the 82km road began in August 2016 and is expected to be completed next year.

The company is also building:

the 95km Lilongwe Old Airport-Kasiya Spur road, costing over K39.6-billion (R670-million), with Malawi government funding. The project, which will take up to 95 months, commenced in January 2015.
The 75km Liwonde-Mangochi road worth K29.9-billion (R450-million), funded by the African Development Bank.
The government-funded 75km Njakwa-Livingstonia Project, which will cost K39-billion (R670-million).
The 4.4km highway from Parliament to the Bingu National Stadium, which will cost MK6.6-billion (R90-million). The funding is from the Malawi government, through the Road Fund.

Mota’s nearest rivals are Zhajoung of China, which the RA report said has work worth MK14.9-billion; China Railway Bridge 5 (MK9.8-million, or R166-million); and Malawian-owned Fargo (MK9.2-billion, or R150-million).

The generous treatment of Mota-Engil follows repeated controversies over its relationship with former president Bingu wa Mutharika, the older brother of Malawi’s current leader, Peter Mutharika.

The brothers were very close. Local media reported that Bingu left Peter K74-million in cash in his will, as well making him co-executor of his estate. He is a key figure in the Bineth Trust, Bingu’s property vehicle.

The Nation newspaper reported that Bingu died in April 2012 “at the height of whispers regarding his relationship with Mota”.

The company reportedly built a villa in Portugal for him called Villa Casablanca, as well the mausoleum of former first lady Ethel Mutharika at his Ndata farm in Thyolo, where he was also buried.

The Nation quoted the company as saying these projects were “donations towards a cause”.

Mota-Engil came under the spotlight in 2012, when The Nation newspaper reported that it had seen three cheques amounting to K13.5-million (about R420 000 at the time) which the company had deposited in Bingu’s personal bank account at the Capital City branch of Standard Bank in Lilongwe. It gave the account number as 0140001886701.

The newspaper reported that the cheques were drawn against Mota-Engil’s Engenhara Eco FMB current account and carried the signature of Mota’s managing director, Antonmarco Zorzi.

Zorzi was quoted as saying that the payments were for copies of The African Dream, Bingu’s book, which he had bought at auction at the book’s launch in February 2011.

The Nation countered that the cheques had been deposited a year earlier than the launch, in March 2010.

Mota’s perceived ties with Bingu were again highlighted in June 2016 by the veteran MP for Mzimba West, Harry Mkandawire, who told the Malawian parliament that Bingu had salted away K61-billion in assets offshore. In 2004, when he became president, Bingu declared K250-million in assets.

In a document tabled in parliament, Mkandawira alleged that the former president received 10% of all payments to Mota on government contracts, and that his offshore assets had been accumulated with the help of “inducements” by the company.

His deceased estate revealed that in addition to Ndata estate, the former president owned six farms in Malawi, four vacant lots and four houses in Blantyre, and vacant land and a house in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Mkandawire said that he had evidence that Bingu had stashed away assets in foreign countries including Australia, the United States, South Africa and Taiwan.

After his sudden death, it was alleged that cash including millions of US dollars was removed from State House. The Malawi Law Society called for a probe of his fortune.

However, President Pete Mutharika angrily challenged Parliament’s public accounts committee to investigate the alleged K61-billion.

He called the allegations “political tactics to torment my family”.

Based on anonymous sources, the Nyasa Times also alleged that Mota is bankrolling a campaign by Agriculture Minister Georg Chaponda to win the presidency next year.

Mutharika has allegedly anointed Chaponda as his successor. The Nyasa Times claimed that the minister refused to grant an interview.

Mota, which has been active in Malawi for more than 20 years, initially entered the country as a road contractor, but its portfolio of contracts has ballooned into new sectors.

In July 2013 the government handed it the management and operation of four ports on Lake Malawi through a concessionary agreement giving it the right to finance, manage and run the ports for a 35-year period.

The Nation reported last year that the contract was awarded without passing through a competitive tender process and violated the Public Procurement Act, as it had not been signed off by the director of public procurement.

The government justified the award by saying no other company was interested. Mota’s chief executive for Africa, Gilberto Rodrigues, was quoted as saying that the approach came from government, adding: “They had a problem and we could be the solution.”

In July 2013 the company built the Nsanje Inland Port, part of the $6-billion Shire-Zambezi waterway project that links Malawi to the Indian Ocean. The port was Bingu Mutharika’s brainchild.

President Mutharika’s press secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, said the responsibility for awarding government road tenders lies squarely with the Roads Authority.

“The presidency, let alone president… Mutharika as an individual has absolutely nothing to do with such processes,” Kalilani said.

“To allege that a company that has been doing business in the country for many years, even before the Mutharika brothers made their names on the local political scene… is a desperate attempt by haters to drag the name of the current president in the mud for malicious reasons.

“Mota-Engil is not winning tenders because it constructed the house of the president’s late brother some years ago.” DM


Saudi Rail Event

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 Speaking at the 12th edition of the Middle East Rail 2018, Khalid Al Sultan, vice president - infrastructure, Saudi Railway Company (SAR), covered the company’s railway development plans in context of the country’s Vision 2030. He explained that railway will play a major role in three aspects of development: a cost efficient means of moving goods & freight, a means of moving people as well as aligning with major ports and entry points to ensure seamless infrastructural connectivity.

He also explained in great detail the length and depth of coverage of the country’s three major railway lines including the Riyadh Dammam Line, North-South Project (connecting major heavy industry hubs for freight projects) and the 453-km long Haramain High Speed Railway (HHR) project linking the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Al Sultan also expressed SAR’s keen interest in working with the private sector to collaborate and partner in achieving success in multiple new projects. Of note were Public-Private Partnership (PPP) opportunities for the 340-kilometer dDouble-track Yanbu to Jeddah connection (via King Abdullah Port) and the 40-kilometer double-track Riyadh to Riyadh connection and new Dry-Port (connecting SAR and SRO networks in Riyadh and New Dry Port to be situated outside of Riyadh).

He also mentioned that SAR will soon be floating tenders for the Riyadh-Dammam and the Land Bridge Project. The project consists of a 449-kilometer passenger Line connecting Dammam and Riyadh passing through Al Ahsa and Abqaiq, a 546-kilometer Freight Line connecting King Abdulaziz Port in Dammam with Riyadh passing through Al Ahsa, Abqaiq, Al Kharj, Haradh and Al Tawdhiyah and a 400-kilometer Sub Line connecting industrial, agricultural and military sites with export ports and residential areas.

The Land Bridge extends from Jeddah to Riyadh with a total length of approximately 1000 km of double-track. It also connects with the GCC Railway Network.

Alstom showcases its complete mobility solutions

Alstom is showcasing its complete mobility solutions for urban signaling and services. 

“Alstom has been a reliable partner for the Middle East region since decades,” said Mrs. Thi Mai Tran, managing director of Alstom Gulf. “Alstom’s dedication to the UAE and the Middle East market and to the development of its transport & mobility network which includes Tramways, metro, high speed as well as signaling is confirmed by the number of projects currently in the region. Alstom is looking forward to further re-enforce its commitment to the development of the Middle East mobility sector and economy through participation in the upcoming railway & mobility projects,” added Tran.

The provider of the Dubai Tram and the leader of the ExpoLink consortium for Route 2020 project of the Red Line extension of Dubai Metro have highlighted eight new technologies with the power to transform mobility in the Middle East now – or in the very near future.

Ranging from connected tech to help passengers plan easier, more comfortable journeys, to autonomous last-mile shuttles, next-generation electric buses, and behind-the-scenes management systems to keep the whole transport system running smoothly, each of the innovations is available now to be deployed. When put together, they offer a revolution in smarter, more sustainable mobility for both passengers and operators, and will help rapidly growing cities move and breathe more easily for a better tomorrow.

Among the solutions Alstom will present on its booth, are Alstom’s Urban Integrated solutions; Citadis Range: More than 2,500 Citadis tramway sold in 53 cities; Mastria, the orchestration of all public transport modes from rail to road; Ecodesign: Sustainability in mobility from manufacturing to recycling; Aptis: the premium passenger experience inspired from the tram.

Indian Railways to talk about expansion

Indian Railways, India's national railway system operated by the Ministry of Railways, will talk about $140 billion worth of current and future rail projects that the government is building to upgrade country’s urban transportation network.

Mahesh Kumar Gupta, member engineering - Indian Railway Board, will lead a high-profile delegation of railway officials and experts to share more details about the region’s largest railway network’s expansion plans and future growth prospects, besides outlining a buddle of opportunities that the industry offers in the segments of metro, tram, monorail, long-distance freight and passenger train, and high speed rail.

Gupta, said: “We will highlight some of our achievements, growth prospects and future projections during this two-day event. This kind of events helps in creating awareness about gigantic organizations like Indian Railways, which deals in mega projects such as high speed trains, dedicated freight corridors, electrification, capacity expansion and tech development.”

Indian Railways will also be represented by two of its overseas arms – RITES and IRCON International Limited. While RITES deals in consultancy of transport and infrastructure and export packages of rolling stock, the IRCON is mainly into construction of railway projects.

“These are exciting times for railway industry. There are serious challenges in the road and air transportation sector, hence, the upgradation of the railway infrastructure is the need of the hour. Indian Railways has realized that accumulated backlog investment is the root cause of its inability to improve the market share or quality of services,” said Gupta.

Indian railways aims to concentrate on major investment projects in the areas of dedicated freight corridor, high speed rail, modernization of signaling system, track and rolling stock maintenance with major emphasis on safety. “Our future plan is to focus on electrification, 100% use of LED lights, ETCS level II of signaling and high speed technologies.”

Source- Saudi Gazzette

February 21, 2018

Security Clearance Sought for Road Project

Coastal road project...

With five international consortia among the 17 bidders, which qualified for the 29.2km coastal road project in the city, including China and Italy, the Brihanmumbai Mumbai Corporation (BMC) has written to the Centre for security clearance.

The proposals of 17 bidders will be analysed by a consultant appointed by the civic body.

After the analysis, the financial bids will be opened and the contract will be given to the lowest bidder.

However, if the Union Home Ministry disqualifies any firm, their financial bids will not be opened and will be automatically rejected.

“We have written to the Centre informing about the international firms’ participation and their security clearances,” said Sanjay Mukherjee, additional municipal commissioner, projects.

Talking about the commencement of work, BMC chief Ajoy Mehta said, “The actual construction of the Coastal Road between Marine Drive to Kandivli will begin in May this year, once the tendering process is completed in the next two months.”

The Hajo Ali section of the road. (HT Photo)

“The first phase of Marine Drive to Bandra Worli Sea Link has to be constructed by the BMC, while the construction of the remaining part will be taken care of by MSRDC,” he added.

Meanwhile, the international firms participating in the bid are from China, Italy, Korea, Dutch and Gulf countries.

Amid Sikkim stand off last year, Union Home Ministry had denied security clearance to Chinese consortium China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Limited in joint venture (JV) with Gayatri Projects Limited for the construction of Mumbai Trans Harbour Link.

The BMC is currently awaiting reply from the home ministry for its coastal road project.

In the past, Chinese companies have been disqualified by the Union Cabinet Committee on security grounds because of the growing cross border tensions between the two countries.

Chinese companies were also denied security clearance for the construction of Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL).

Ajoy Mehta had ordered the civic officials to finalise the request for proposal (RFP) tender by March 15, 2018.

The coastal road aims to provide connectivity between western suburb and the island city.

The civic body proposed that the work be divided into two parts.

The south phase of the bridge will run from Princess Street flyover till the south end of the Bandra-Worli sea link and the north phase will cover the stretch from the north-end of the sea link to Kandivli.

The coastal road will have eight lanes with two dedicated bus lanes.

The project will require 186 hectares of land to be reclaimed, of which 91 hectares will be developed as green spaces. Stay updated with all the Mumbai Latest News headlines here. For more exclusive & live news updates from all around India, stay connected with NYOOOZ.

February 8, 2018

2000 Road Projects in Stalemate

As many as 2,000 road projects awarded to contractors on multiyear contracts have hit a stalemate as no budget has been allocated for these projects in the current fiscal year.

The Department of Roads (DoR) had started around 2,000 road projects in different parts of the country on multiyear contract after taking permission from the Ministry of Finance. These road projects fall under different budget headings like Kathmandu Urban Roads, regional, tourism and city roads, among others.

After the country adopted federal set up, infrastructure projects like Kathmandu Urban Roads, regional, tourism and city roads, among others, have come under the jurisdiction of local bodies and provincial governments. But local bodies have not been able to provide budget for these projects as they have not yet received authorization to implement such works.

Contractors have warned that they would stop all construction work until they receive payment for completed works from the Ministry of Finance.

“It has been said the budget for these projects have been sent to local levels and provinces. However, we have not received any written information. This is why these projects have hit a stalemate,” Mukti Gautam, spokesperson for the DoR, said. 

These contracts are worth Rs 17 billion, and around Rs 7 billion of this has already been spent.

Contractors are pressing the DoR to release payments and compensate them for the loss caused by the delay in release of payment. The DoR accordingly forwarded a proposal to the Ministry of Finance for transfer of Rs 2.6 billion allocated for the projects but remained unspent in the last fiscal year. But the proposal is gathering dust at the finance ministry.

Officials of DoR said the that problem can be sorted out for the time being if the finance ministry transfers Rs 2.6 billion as requested and allocates another Rs 3 billion.

“We have been assuring the contractors that the finance ministry will release the budget soon. But frankly saying, we have not received any response from the ministry yet,” added Gautam.

In Fiscal Year 2015/16, the DoR awarded the tender for drainage and graveling work of Butawal-Belbas-Nuwakot-Palpa Tourist Road (10 km) to contracting firm Mahalaxmi-Divyajyoti at Rs 129.3 million. Similarly, the contract to blacktop the road worth Rs 92.7 million was awarded to Parkritik Construction Service. Mahalaxmi-Divyajyoti completed 58 percent of the works in FY 2016/17. But the contractor has slowed work this year as it has not got payment for the completed works.

“We are not even in a situation to pay our workers and buy petroleum products for our equipment,” Hari Rijal of Mahalaxmi Construction - a JV partner of Mahalaxmi-Divyajyoti - said.

The road project has to a pay total of Rs 60 million to the two contractors.

Construction entrepreneurs two weeks ago padlocked division road offices of Kathmandu and Charikot to press the government for early release of payments.

Bishnu Bhai Shrestha, president of Federation of Nepal Construction Entrepreneurs of Nepal, said that construction entrepreneurs are still to receive Rs 42 billion from government agencies for works completed across the country.

Though the construction entrepreneurs have raised the issue before both the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport as well as the foreign secretary, they have only received assurances.

According to the Public Procurement Regulation 2007, contractors should get payment for completed works within 30 days of submission of expenditure bill. If they did not receive their payment on time, they should get compensation as well, according to the regulation.   

Source- My Republica

January 12, 2018

Paving Vision

A paving vision unfolds

The construction and maintenance of roads are among the top priorities for government. IMIESA speaks to Steve Tinarwo, managing director, Instant Tar, about the company’s plans to grow its base in this strategically important sector.

The commissioning of an 80 tonne per hour Apollo Counter Flow 90 continuous mixing plant in February 2017 at its Benoni facility in Gauteng represents a key milestone for Instant Tar. This major plant acquisition spearheads the company’s strategic vision of becoming a top-tier paving contractor and asphalt supplier in the South African and broader Southern African region.

Three mix designs are currently produced by the plant, namely medium asphalt, a bitumen-treated base (BTB), and fine asphalt. The Apollo plant is owned by sister company V&S Plant. Currently, V&S is operating on a temporary licence; however, an application for a full commercial licence is due to be completed during the second quarter of 2018.

“Our goal, from the onset, was to provide a turnkey solution in asphalt pavement construction and the acquisition of our Apollo plant now means that we have complete control over the supply chain,” explains Steve Tinarwo, managing director, Instant Tar. “That’s important from a reputation management perspective, as it means we don’t need to rely on third parties when it comes to project delivery.”

Instant Tar is currently a 5 CE PE contractor in terms of the Construction Industry Development Broad (CIDB) grading system and has gained extensive experience as a subcontractor working on projects across South Africa. “Our plan in 2018 is to apply for an upgrade to a CIDB 7 level, so that we can tender on a broader range of projects,” explains Tinarwo.

The company is 100% black-women-owned. “In fact, we’re the only black contractor in Gauteng that owns an asphalt plant,” he continues. Instant Tar is also a member of the Southern African Bitumen Association, ensuring it keeps up to date with current industry regulations and standards.

From civils to paving
Established in 2007, Instant Tar’s current business model has progressively evolved. Initial activities concentrated on general civils work, like earthworks, stormwater drainage structures and concrete block paving, which it still offers on request as part of a total project  solution.

Having identified a gap, the company refined its strategy in 2008, shifting to a specific focus on asphalt paving – ranging from pothole patching, to residential driveway and light commercial parking area surfacing. This has been supported by a steady acquisition of specialised equipment, starting with a walk-behind pedestrian roller.

Instant Tar’s first paver was acquired in 2010, subsequently followed by pneumatic and compaction rollers that have opened up opportunities into a much broader market for urban and national road resurfacing. Instant Tar’s current paver units include a Vögele 1603 (equipped with a 5 m screed), a Wirtgen Super 800 (3.4 m screed) and a Blaw-Knox unit. Allied equipment includes chip spreaders, pneumatic and double-drum rollers, and tipper trucks.

The company now also owns two low-bed trucks, which enables the rapid deployment of machines nationally for projects in diverse geographic locations, such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Ongoing projects within the Gauteng region include subcontract work for the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA), the City of Ekurhuleni, and the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport. One of Instant Tar’s recent breakthroughs took place in the recycling market, and the company recently completed an R8 million project for the JRA, working as a subcontractor.

“Whether it is for a patching, resurfacing or complete surface construction job, Instant Tar provides expert advice and ensures that the appropriate materials are used,” says Tinarwo. Instant Tar also provides a road marking service. The solutions offered are solvent- and water-based road markings.

SMME support
“There’s a definite opportunity for SMME contractors when it comes to earthworks projects, but the high cost of acquiring specialist paving plants still represents a major barrier to entry for most emerging companies. Plus the saving segment is not generally catered for by the plant hire industry.

So, Instant Tar is well-placed for growth,” says Tinarwo. “However, we can create joint ventures with SMME civils contractors. This enables them to tender on multidisciplinary roads projects where Instant Tar is responsible for the black-top surfacing phase.”

In the longer term, Instant Tar has an ambitious vision of being one of the top five asphalt suppliers within the SADC region. “As we expand, one of our future acquisitions could include a mobile asphalt plant, which would be ideal for supplying the megaprojects we hope to secure in the future as we climb up the CIDB rankings,” he expands.

Outside South Africa, Instant Tar has a registered company in Zimbabwe, trading as Elshadhai Civil Construction. With the outlook in Zimbabwe starting to show marked improvement, Instant Tar plans to establish a full road paving line during 2018 to respond to local project opportunities.

“In the meantime, our intention is to grow our municipal footprint in South Africa, while concurrently strengthening our relationships with key suppliers, since they play a critical role in ensuring that we provide high-quality solutions,” concludes Tinarwo

Source - Infrastructure News

September 27, 2017

Road Upgrade

Council to spend $1m on road upgrade

Last week, official manager Mark Blackburn voted to hire Palmerston-based contractor JLM Civil Works for the job.
“I think this is a straightforward contract,” he said.
A report by Melissa Moss, Environment and Strategic Support Officer, recommended awarding the tender — worth $1,058,389.64 — to the company.
Also vying for the contract was local company Ciarla Constructions, who tendered $1,413,054.80; and BMD Urban which has its head office in Queensland.
Ms Moss said each contract was weighted on local industry; past performance experience; resources and methodology knowledge and skills. “All Contractors assessed by the tender evaluation committee were identified as being capable of performing the works to the standard described in the tender documents,” she said.
“After evaluating all tenders against both the price and non-price criteria, the tender submitted by JLM Civil Works Pty Ltd, was considered to offer best value for money.”
Ms Moss said three tenders were submitted, though nine were downloaded.
Former chief executive Ricky Bruhn, who quit last week, said it was the second time the project had come before council.
“We got a better response this time round,” he said. 
“We’re hoping to start this project as soon as possible — before the rain starts.”
In July, Palmerston Council voted not to accept any tender for the Yarrawonga and Wallaby Holtze Road upgrade, as none were deemed suitable.
At the time, Mr Blackburn voted to tender the project again, as the only tender recieved exceeded the current budget allocation.
The revised tender included outcomes from a flood mitigation/drainage study carried out by the NT Government.

June 29, 2017

£165m roads project facing legal challenge

A long-awaited £165m roads project for Belfast is now facing a legal challenge, it has emerged.

Around eight years after it was first announced, cash was finally earmarked for the York Street Interchange development as part of the DUP's £1bn deal with the Tories.

But now, a legal challenge, which has been confirmed by the Department for Infrastructure, over the awarding of the main construction contract, could delay the scheme further.

DUP Tory deal new £1bn allocation breakdown - where will the money go in Northern Ireland?

The Department has said that “the tender process to appoint a contractor to bring the scheme to a construction ready stage has now been completed... however, tender award cannot occur at present due to a legal challenge. The legal process is ongoing.”

The interchange is intended to solve the Belfast's increasing traffic problems.

It aimed to transform traffic flow where the Westlink, M2 and M3 converge.

The bulk of the cash needed to build it, around 40%, was originally due to come from the EU.

The upgrade of the York Street Interchange aims to tackle the traffic gridlock which occurs daily.

As Northern Ireland's busiest junction, it carries 100,000 vehicles daily, mostly commuters to and from Belfast from around Co Antrim.

It was revealed this week that part of a £1bn fiscal package for Northern Ireland as part of the DUP deal with the Conservatives, will include £400m for infrastructure. And as part of that, money will be freed up for the York Street Interchange.

At the end of last year, former Infrastructure Minister Chris Hazzard accepted a recommendation from a public inquiry that the York Street Interchange scheme should progress in principle but reiterated warnings that Brexit had placed a question mark over funding.

Speaking about the project, Wesley Johnston, an expert on Northern Ireland's roads, has said that commuters can still expect delays at the York Street interchange even after work has been completed.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

October 10, 2016

TOT or Advance Selling of Human Traffic Loads ?

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is preparing to start the process of monetizing toll-based operational road assets under the toll, operate and transfer (TOT) model, aimed to bring new investments to the highways sector.

“We have not as yet floated tenders to monetize road assets, but are preparing to do so. We expect to begin doing this in 2-3 months’ time under the TOT model,” NHAI chairman Raghav Chandra said in an email response to queries from Mint.

This will be India’s first exercise in auctioning NHAI’s operational projects after a cabinet clearance in August. The proceeds will fund new highway projects under various models.

NHAI is currently working on the guidelines for TOT, under which the investor will collect tolls and be responsible for operation and maintenance of the project. The TOT model will be essential to attract long-term foreign investment, financial investors and investment bankers told Mint.

NHAI can lease up to 75 national highway projects which are fetching tolls for at least two years to various entities on the TOT model. The overall annual toll collected from these projects is about Rs2,700 crore, against which NHAI can expect to raise Rs25,000-30,000 crore by granting 30-year concessions, said Ashish Agarwal, director (infrastructure) at investment bank Equirus Capital.

The TOT model is long overdue, said Gautam Bhandari, partner at I Squared Capital, a US-based investor in road projects. “We are hopeful that NHAI finally does launch its TOT programme so that it can serve as a model for other sectors as well. As a global investor, we believe that NHAI’s TOT model, if executed properly, could be a win-win for everyone. Proceeds from TOT auctions will free up valuable taxpayer capital that can then be recycled for much-needed new infrastructure projects,” he said.

I Squared is looking to invest as much as $1 billion in Indian infrastructure. It has invested more than Rs1,000 crore through its investment platform Cube Highways and Infrastructure Pte. Ltd in three road projects so far.

IDFC Alternatives, which has bought controlling stakes in operational road projects, is waiting to see the fine print. “The good part is that in the TOT model, there are far less variables and concerns to be addressed as compared to projects with embedded construction risks. The differences in the bids here would be more a function of how differently each investor views the traffic growth rates, maintenance costs, synergies with other projects in one’s portfolio, if any,” said Aditya Aggarwal, partner (infrastructure), IDFC Alternatives.

There is significant interest from international infrastructure funds in the Indian road sector, said Rahul Mody, managing director, Ambit Corporate Finance Pvt. Ltd. “The TOT model is an excellent idea. The model takes away two key risks in the road sector—delays or cost overruns and initial traffic discovery—as the assets that will be offered under this (model) will be operational with some tolling history; hence it should attract considerable interest from Indian companies as well as foreign investors,” Mody said.

“The model can be an avenue for NHAI to raise upfront capital to fund the EPC and HAM projects; opportunity to feed the increasing number of pension funds and infrastructure investors having access to low cost capital and further deepen the infrastructure market; and allowing players to choose better the nature of risk-reward play they want to play in the road sector,” Agarwal said.

Source- LiveMint

July 4, 2016

India to help Build Nepal Road

Tasked to improve road connectivity in remote parts of India's Northeast, the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (NHIDCL) is now venturing into Nepal where it has been assigned to guide the construction of over 600 km of postal roads in the Terai region bordering India.

A postal road is a road designated for the transportation of postal mail.

According to an MoU inked between India and Nepal, the decision was taken after a similar attempt by the Nepal Government failed to make progress due to negligence of the contractors in 2010.

"The Postal Road in the Terai region of Nepal will boost the country's much awaited road network. Under this current project the NHIDCL will be tasked to guide the construction of 19 postal roads of an outlay of 600 km," one of the top officials at NHIDCL told IANS declining to be identified.

He said the construction of 19 postal roads are under six packages for different parts of the Terai region.

"Basically we will be playing the role of consultants in the entire project. The biddings and all the tendering work of the road construction will be done by Nepal. Our work will basically be to see that the work does not witness failure like earlier," the official said.

According to the official, the decision for handing over the guidance work was decided during the recent visit of Nepal's Prime Minister K.P. Oli to India.

Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told IANS: "Yes, It has been proposed to the Nepal Government for appointing NHIDCL as the consultant for the postal road projects. Though the precise MoU between the NHIDCL and Nepal Government is likely to be inked next week... all things are decided."

He said contractors from both Nepal and India can do the bidding for the postal roads projects.

The NHIDCL authority, who did not wished to be named, said the postal road has been prioritised for the development of Terai/Madhes region by expanding the road network. The 600 km work is only for the first phase. Both the countries will decide the agenda for the remaining works also."

Stating that the project was being financed by India, he said that the money will be given to Nepal for the execution of different stages of work, which will be over looked by the NHIDCL.

According to sources, the cost of the first phase of road construction in the Terai is estimated to increase to Rs 9 billion from the earlier Rs 7 billion. The total project cost will also rise from the previous estimate of Rs 29 billion. Around 130 bridges have to built along the 600 km highway.

Asked if NHIDCL has been given any other foreign projects, the authority said: "The creation of NHIDCL was for creation of difficult roads. The Government has full confidence on us and we are ready to undertake any project in any part of the world under any circumstance. However, there are no immediate foreign projects as of now."

NHIDCL, created in 2014, has recently been given the task of constructing over 4,000 km of roads in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. The organisation was established after Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Public Works Department of the states failed to carry out road construction in many remote parts in hilly terrain.
Source - Indian Express

June 7, 2016

Concrete to Replace Bitumen..

Concrete Roads 20% Cheaper Than Bitumen, More Durable – Dangote

The president of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote yesterday said using concrete in road construction is 20 percent less costly than using other materials.

The business man disclosed this at Itori, Ewekoro local government area of Ogun State during the inauguration of a 26 km concrete road constructed by his company as part of its corporate social responsibility, CSR, to the people of the area.

According to Dangote, apart from saving cost,  roads constructed with concrete last longer than bitumen roads and do not require much maintenance.

“Our decision to introduce cement concrete roads in Nigeria, is in line with what obtains in other parts of the world. For instance, the famous Autobahn in Germany, was constructed with concrete. The equally popular Marine Drive in Mumbai, India, which was built in 1939, is another example of a concrete road.”

The business mogul further stated that players in the cement industry in Nigeria have been clamouring for a rethink on how roads are constructed in the country saying to save billions that go into maintaining bitumen roads, concrete roads are the answers.

“The Nigerian cement industry as our contribution to finding a cost-effective and lasting solution to this problem, has been advocating the construction of concrete roads as a more viable alternative to asphalt roads. That is why we at DIL, are venturing into the construction of concrete roads. Today’s ceremony is just the beginning for us, as we will soon embark on the building of more concrete roads in other States of the Federation, including Lagos, Bauchi, Kogi and Kaduna.

Dangote explained that his company embarked on construction of Itori -Ibese road to contribute their quota to easing suffering of the people of the area occasioned by poor state of the road also help their business.

“This project was conceived in 2014, as part of our efforts to ease movement of our heavy duty trucks from our Ibese Cement Plant to other parts of the country. We realised that the existing narrow road built in the ’70s, had virtually collapsed and needed to be reconstructed to accommodate our trucks and other road users.

“First, concrete roads are not only about 20 percent cheaper than the conventional asphalt roads, but they also last longer and do not have potholes. Also, concrete roads do not require frequent maintenance and they save fuel for motorists and protect tyres from wear and tear.

He noted that apart from being cost effective and durable, materials for making concrete roads are locally sourced.

“Another advantage of concrete roads is that cement, the basic raw material is for construction, is available locally, and is cheaper to use in the long run than bitumen, a petroleum-based product that is presently imported. As a matter of fact, in Nigeria, economic losses due to poor condition of our roads is estimated at about $1billion annually. I believe that the introduction of concrete roads will enable the government to find lasting solution to the poor road network in the country, and also reduce the burden of constantly sourcing for funds to repair roads.

Source- leadership

April 22, 2016

Highway Project Model

Introduced last year by the Union ministry of road transport and highways, acceptance of the hybrid annuity model or HAM for tendering of road projects by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) was initially weak. It continues to remain so.

For instance, the first bid under the HAM model, for four-laning of the Solan-Kaithalighat section in Himachal Pradesh, had no takers. The bid terms had to be revised.

Till date, five projects totalling 279 km (Rs 6,700 crore in value) have been awarded. The FY16 target for HAM was set at 1,400 km. Experts, however, say with more than half of NHAI’s project pipeline lined up under HAM and the government having addressed the sector's key concerns, this is likely to pick up.

After the first bid failed, the government addressed some of the key impediments, particularly on forest clearance and land acquisition. Further, HAM, often referred to as a mix of the Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) and Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) models, addresses the concerns on both.

Under the latter model, a winning contractor builds the road project and hands it over to the government after completing the construction. Under BOT, he builds the project and operates (collects toll, maintains the road) it, handing it over on completion of the concession period.

Primary concerns such as land acquisition, traffic risk and inflation in BOT projects have been adequately addressed in HAM. Further, with NHAI pitching in 40 per cent of the capital, the project equity risk is likely to be lowered to 18 per cent (as against 30 per cent for BOT) of the project cost, resulting in a superior return profile to that under BOT.
Highway contracts: Hybrid annuity projects to gain pace
HAM scores over EPC for the government as well. From 100 per cent cost of capital to be borne by NHAI under EPC, the exposure is reduced to 40 per cent under HAM.

The question is whether companies would opt for HAM in its new avatar. Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman, IRB Infrastructure, terming HAM a deferred EPC payment structure, feels it might not offer good operating margins or a return creation opportunity vis-a-vis the current BOT model that his company prefers. “Just to wet our feet and find out how really the process happens, we (IRB) might participate in a few bids under HAM but for now, we are not looking at it in a big way,” he said.

Experts say the approach on HAM will depend on a company's stance and current needs. It would have little to do with any concern over the project or model.

Santosh Yellapu of Angel Broking says, “How companies want to build their order books would determine if they want to bid for HAM projects.” According to him, larger companies such as IRB Infra, Ashoka Buildcon and IL&FS Transportation Networks might not participate in the current round of HAM bids, as their current order book is comfortable. Smaller companies such as MBL Infrastructures, MEP Infrastructure Developers and Welspun Corporation, whose order book is in the process of being strengthened, might have more appetite.

A report by ratings agency ICRA adds that features of the HAM model are expected to elicit a favourable response, especially from large EPC players and some BOT ones. Even so, despite a large part of the concerns being addressed, there are other issues influencing companies. Analysts at Emkay Financial Services point to the large difference between L1 (lowest bid price) and L2 (second lowest price) as signifying that no developer wants to bid aggressively.

Some are more optimistic. Kunal Seth of Prabhudas Lilladher feels the larger entities might be warming up to the idea. Also, with BOT projects unlikely to see any meaningful return for older entities such as Gammon, GMR Infra and HCC, given the strain on their finances, some experts feel the trend of declining bids under the BOT model could go on. As more bids open under the HAM model, it might compel the larger ones to change their operating strategy.

For example, the pipeline for EPC projects, though higher than BOT, is less than half that for HAM. “Instead of bidding for three-four small road projects, a large HAM project might be more rewarding for the bigger players as well,” says Seth.

Source- Business Standard

November 27, 2015

Bitumen mixing Plant - On the limits

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan visiting a bitumin-mixing plant atKumbanad-Kadapra, near Kozhencherry, on Thursday

Photo: Leju Kamal

Residents of Kumbanad-Kadapra allege that the plant is causing breathing problems for people

The problems faced by the common man due to a bitumen-mixing plant located in a thickly populated area adjoining a Scheduled Caste colony at Kumbanad-Kadapra, near Kozhenchery, will be raised in the Assembly, Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has said.

Mr. Achuthanandan, accompanied by Village Action Council workers, was talking to reporters after visiting the plant on Thursday.

The Village Action Council has been waging an agitation demanding the shifting of the plant from the thickly populated area for the past three years.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the controversial plant should be relocated to an uninhibited area, if the custodians failed to operate it without causing problems to the villagers.

He first visited the Chellathuparambil colony and interacted with the affected families there.

Panchayat ward member Jessie Sajan said the villagers had been put to much difficulty due to the noxious fumes emitted from the plant.

She said one person was killed due to asphyxia caused by the fumes from the bitumen-mixing plant in March and many others were hospitalised.

Though the villagers under the aegis of the action council staged satyagraha before the Koipram panchayat office for 48 days, the local body had given clearance to the plant, disregarding their protests, Ms. Sajan said.

Ms. Sajan has been elected as an Independent member representing the action council in the just-concluded local body elections, defeating both the UDF and the LDF candidates.

Ammini Mathew, Winnie Mathews, and Sanoop Rajan, villagers, told Mr. Achuthanandan that the plant had been causing breathing difficulties and allergy problems to the people in the locality.

Steps sought

Mr. Achuthanandan also interacted with the owner of the plant, Prasad, and asked him to take immediate steps to address the problems faced by the local residents.

K. Ananthagopan, CPI(M) State committee member; R. Sanalkumar, district secretariat member; and Joseph Mathews, IT advisor to the Opposition Leader; were also present.

Source- The Hindu

November 25, 2015

Indian Bitumen Market

With the target of making over 90 percent of Indian roads bituminous, the central government has allocated more than 10 percent of its total expenditure on roads development testifying to the high priority being accorded the sector, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
"Over 90 percent roads in have to be bituminous. The current government has kept the development of roads at a high priority by allocating more than 10 percent of the total spending for the same," Pradhan said here inaugurating the two-day Asian Bitumen Conference being held for the first time in India.
"The current government has kept the development of roads at a high priority by allocating more than 10 percent of the total spending for the same," he said.
"I'm happy to note that bitumen products are being introduced at all the refineries in the country for the better performance of roads in India," he added.
Noting that with a road infrastructure of 3.3 million km, India has the second largest road network in the world after America, Pradhan said: "Bitumen becomes an important parameter in planning and execution of road construction projects in India."
"Owing to the diverse climatic conditions, it requires better understanding of bitumen supply and demand in the country."
According to the minister, total bitumen sales in India in 2014-2015 amounted to 4.8 million tonnes.
Experts from as many as 20 countries from Asia have come together to discuss challenges and opportunities emerging in the bitumen market in Asia, the conference organisers Asian Bitumen said.
"India's bitumen utilisation will outpace production in the coming years as demand is expected to accelerate," the organisers said in a statement.
According to the organisers, currently 90 percent of India's bitumen requirement is met by local oil companies, while the balance is imported. India also exports during the monsoon season from the east coast.
"Factors such as a shift in demand towards value added bitumen products, preference being given to cement over bitumen in road construction in countries like India, and additional usages emerging for the crude by-product have dramatically affected the outlook of the bitumen market in Asia," the statement said.
Global bitumen demand is expected to reach 122 million tonnes in 2018.

November 21, 2015

Extract Bitumen from Oil Sands and do the Transition also as it is still dirty..

U.S. President Barack Obama says it's "not contradictory" for Canada to continue extracting bitumen from Alberta's oilsands while also working as a global partner in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

"My view has been that we have to transition," Obama said during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila.

"That transition does not happen overnight."

"Both of us are large oil and gas producers and that's an important part of our economy," Obama continued.

"We make no apologies for that but I also think that we have to recognize that if we want to preserve this planet for our kids and our grandkids, then we're going to have to shift increasingly away from carbon-emitting energy sources."

U.S. President Barack Obama addressed Alberta's oil sands during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila on Nov. 19, 2015. (CBC)

Trudeau, for his part, said Canada had earned an international reputation for not taking climate change seriously and that's something he intends to change.

"We understand as a government that there is no longer a choice to be made between what's good for the environment or what's good for the economy," Trudeau said. "They go together in the 21st century."

The prime minister said one of his "first tasks" on the issue will be to "reassure Canadians and others that we are serious about meeting reduction targets, about being positive actors on the world stage in the fight against climate change, and demonstrating a future in renewables and smart investments around energy."

Low oil prices 'an opportunity'

The U.S. president also acknowledged the economic woes Alberta is currently facing and noted the reality of oil production and the move toward alternative energy sources will be "dictated by market prices."

"Right now in Alberta, a lot of the issues with respect to how to extract oil does have to do with the fact that oil prices are low and they're going to be low, I suspect, for a while," Obama said. "That actually presents both our countries an opportunity."

Now is the time for energy companies to look seriously at diversifying their business models, the president said, and for consumers to use any savings in their fuel bills to invest in things like solar panels for their homes.

"This is going to be a messy, bumpy process worldwide," Obama said.

"But I am confident that we can get it done and the fact that we now have a very strong partner in Canada to help set up some global rules around how we approach this will be extraordinarily helpful."

source -CBA News

November 20, 2015

Bitumen Storage Tanks
The Matola terminals Global mid- and downstream energy company Puma Energy officially opened new bitumen and fuel terminals in Mozambique this week, raising its capacity in the Southern African country to 275 500 m³.

The Matola terminals comprise 11 steel storage tanks, which have collectively added 115 000 m³ of storage capacity. The bitumen terminal has been designed to reduce Mozambique’s dependence on imports, while the fuel terminal creates a new fuel-supply channel for the Southern African Development Community.

COO Christophe Zyde described the Mozambican storage facilities as “state-of-the-art” and said the infrastructure would act as a catalyst for economic growth in the country.

Puma Energy, which is associated with the Trafigura Group, is active in over 45 countries globally and recently set up a regional hub in Johannesburg, South Africa, where it is also in the process of building storage capacity.

Source -


Cheaper Crude Kills Bitumen Blend with high carbon


Some independent teapot refiners in China's eastern Shandong province will be ramping up crude oil imports over the next month in a bid to utilize their import quotas before the end of the year, trade sources said this week.

This is despite a slowdown in domestic gasoline and gasoil sales, which dampened teapot refiners' demand for imported crude, petroleum bitumen blend and straight-run fuel oil over this week, as they continue to grapple with rising oil product stocks, according to sources.

No new crude cargoes have arrived at Shandong ports this week, after a string of deliveries last week.

But given a few refineries have only utilized just a small portion of their annual import quotas, the Shandong provincial government has required Lihuayi Petrochemical -- better known as Lijin -- Yatong Petrochemical and Kenli Petrochemical, to import a total 880,000 mt of crude before the end of this year.

Lijin will need to import 200,000 mt next month in order to meet its target.

The refiner, which has a crude import quota of 3.5 million mt/year, received two cargoes totaling 200,000 mt last week and will be returning from an ongoing full turnaround at the end of November.

Yatong will need to import around 600,000 mt of crude before the end of the year.

The refiner last week has received one 50,000-mt cargo of Russian Sokol crude, after taking delivery of its first import cargo of 60,000 mt in October. Yatong has a crude import quota of 2.76 million mt/year.

Kenli Petrochemical will have to import 80,000 mt of crude by the end of this year, according to sources.

The refiner, which has a quota of 2.52 million mt/year, has so far received a total of about 200,000 mt of Russian ESPO blend crude.

Meanwhile, some Omani crude, as well as Brazilian grades, were offered into the spot market on a FOB Qingdao basis, sources said.

With teapot refiners importing crude, the supply of imported crude in the Shandong market has also become abundant.

Some of the teapot refiners unable to fully use up their import crude supply in their own systems were said to be selling part of their cargoes to other teapot refiners which have not been granted import quotas yet.

Shandong's teapot refineries are able to crack crude and fuel oil, but they have been using less imported fuel oil since November 2014 because of relatively high procurement costs.

After the government granted teapot refineries access to imported crude oil, crude has been the top feedstock choice, while bitumen blend is still considered favorable for those that have no access to both domestic and imported crude.


Imports of petroleum bitumen blend by Shandong teapot refineries have been slow in recent weeks, mainly due to uncertainties over tax issues.

There was talk in the market that the government may levy a consumption tax on bitumen blend, as it has a similar quality to fuel oil. And should this happen, there will probably be fewer buyers for bitumen blend, which is used as feedstock for coking units.

Since the government typically reviews and revises all import and export items at the end of the year, trade sources said they would rather wait for a clear directive before resuming imports.

No new bitumen blend cargoes have arrived for Shandong teapot refineries this week.

Yuhuang Petrochemical and Hengyuan Petrochemical early this month have each taken delivery of a 100,000-mt cargo of bitumen blend at Rizhao and Tianjin. Another two similar cargoes are scheduled to arrive late this month, sources said.

This compares with an estimate 530,000 mt of bitumen blend imports, in five cargoes, into Shandong ports in October, which was lower than September's imports of 1.1 million mt in 12 cargoes.

The steep fall in bitumen blend imports was attributed to more teapot refineries being allowed to import crude, freeing up domestic crude supply to other refiners and displacing the share of bitumen blend in refiners' feedstock mix as a result.

Premiums of November-delivery common grade bitumen blend cargoes were heard at around $20-$25/mt to the Mean of Platts Singapore 380 CST high sulfur fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis.

Common grade bitumen blend has a density of 0.98-0.99 kg/l, sulfur content of 2%-3% and carbon residue of 12%-14%.

Teapot refineries in Shandong -- China's main buyers of imported straight-run fuel oil before November 2014 -- have largely switched to comparatively cheaper bitumen blend that does not incur consumption tax and import tariffs.


On Russian M100 fuel oil, one 30,000-mt cargo is due to arrive Friday at Rizhao port in Shandong.

The cargo will be taken by Xinhai Petrochemical in Jiangsu province, a subsidiary of Shandong's biggest teapot refiner Dongming Petrochemical. Western trader Mercuria was said to have moved M100 fuel oil cargoes into Shandong this month, though details on the number of cargoes and buyers were not known.

M100 fuel oil cargoes for delivery in early December were heard talked at premiums of around $45/mt to MOPS 180 CST fuel oil assessments on a CFR basis, stable from those delivered in early November.

Meanwhile, despite current thin demand for M100 fuel oil from teapot refineries and petrochemical plants, some Chinese companies are now expected likely to participate in Russian state-owned Rosneft's term tender for 2016.

The tender, offering up to 3.5 million mt of M100 fuel oil for loading over January to December 2016 from Nakhodka or Slavyanka, closes on November 19, and bids will remain valid until December 11.

Rosneft currently has a term contract of up to 2.8 million mt of M100 for loading over January-December 2015 from Nakhodka or Vanino with Mercuria, at a term premium of around $85-$88/mt to MOPS 180 CST HSFO assessment on a FOB basis.

--Edited by Irene Tang,