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

September 27, 2017

Mombasa to Nairobi- The Political Road

In another three years, a Kenyan travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi will have at least four major options Kenya has chosen to build a brand new road between Mombasa and Nairobi instead of expanding the existing highway in what will leave consumers spoilt for choice Transport CS James Macharia said the deal had not been signed and that several other companies could be allowed to bid Kenya has chosen to build a brand new road between Mombasa and Nairobi instead of expanding the existing highway in what will leave consumers spoilt for choice.

The Sunday Standard has established that instead of turning the current road into an expressway, the government decided to construct a completely new road to run side by side with the existing one. ALSO READ: Kenya Railways threatens top managers of RVR This means that in another three years, a Kenyan travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi will have at least four major options. One may choose the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train that takes about five hours or take a flight and land in the coastal town in an hour. If he wants to travel by road, he will have two roads to pick from. If in a hurry, and would like to drive at speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, he will take the expressway whose contract was handed to an American firm, Bechtel, three days to the General Election in a deal described as a ‘thank you gift’ to the Americans.

This will not just be the most comfortable drive given how smooth the road would be, it will just take him three and-a-half hours. But this will not be without a cost. He will have to part with some unspecified amount of money in toll fees to enjoy the road. If he does not want to pay or is not in a hurry, he will still have the current road at his disposal, which will be available but only for smaller vehicles. The current road will also have been downgraded to stop trucks and big buses from using it. Shelved proposal It will also mean that the government will buy land afresh, in a similar fashion as it did before it build the SGR, in what could provide land cartels with another round of minting millions from government projects. The initial proposal, which was shelved in favour of the current deal, involved expansion of the existing highway to four lanes between the Machakos Turnoff to Mariakani.  ALSO READ: Kenya Railways threatens top managers of RVR It has also emerged that the contractor building the controversial expressway will be allowed to ‘sell’ it to another private contractor, who will charge users toll fees to recoup the billions sunk in the project.

“Under the Exim Bank financing model, the government has the opportunity to privatise or securitise the individual sections of the expressway that could reduce the total borrowing requirements,” Engineer Peter Mundinia, the director general of the Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) said in a statement. The authority, however, refused to comment on the cost of the project. A source familiar with the project says the government will pass the road to private investors, who have the experience to monetise the road. “Private investors will buy the road and charge toll fees in line with the initial Public Private Partnership (PPP) model after it is constructed.

This must not wait until it is fully built but it can start with the sections as they get completed,” a source said in an interview. This will make the multi-billion road the first ‘private road’ in the region. Kenha has contradicted the Ministry of Transport which had denied claims that the contract had been signed. In a press release this week, Kenha said the commercial contract for the project was signed on August 5. Reacting to an earlier story by the Standard, Transport CS James Macharia said the deal had not been signed and that several other companies could be allowed to bid. ALSO READ: Kenya’s Sh300b ‘thank you gift’ road project to US sparks tender wars But Kenha, which handed the project to the American firm without a competitive process, says the development is under its mandate. Available estimates show that the project will cost about Sh300 billion, before the cost of buying the land is factored in.

Kenha says its economic projections show that there is an infrastructural symbiotic relationship between the SGR and the new road as it offers connectivity for people, business and communities along the road. “Once completed, the expressway will play a critical role in improving Kenya’s transportation logistics and trade competitiveness while supporting the spatial and industrial development along the corridor,” Mundinia said. Kenha has defended the decision to opt for the construction of a new road on grounds that it is distinct from the PPP alternative given that it offers a new alignment designed as a high speed six-lane expressway of higher capacity and safety standards.

“The expressway project will include highway capacity through construction of the greater Nairobi-Southern Bypass which has been planned for several years, thereby contributing to decongestion of the fast-growing Nairobi Metropolitan Area,” Mundinia said. But as details of the deal become available, it is emerging that the mega project has stark similarities to the SGR contract handed to a Chinese company in the run-up to the 2013 General Election. Both the contracts of the SGR and the expressway project were signed shortly before the elections. The firms constructing them are the ones tasked with determining the costs of the projects. Worse, both have been single-sourced and were entered in the cover of government-to-government contracts, in deals that reduce the level of public disclosure and scrutiny that open tenders go through. The biggest concern for sources familiar with government financing is that both of these projects are now going to be financed largely from borrowing at a time when the government is exhausting its headroom to stock up any additional debt.

Kenya Railways set to operate old line It has emerged that top officials of the PPP directorate were caught unawares after the government made an about turn on the project and decided to build a new road instead. A working paper from insiders at the Treasury and the Ministry of Transport seen by this paper raised sharp questions on why the project had to be announced in a rush, three days before the elections, and why it was not competitively done. The deal has also brought back the American government on the front row seat of firms that have bagged big infrastructure projects after being elbowed out by Chinese companies.

A brief by the State Department of Infrastructure as it sought concurrence to proceed with the project says Kenya will borrow funds from American lenders (US Exim Bank and OPIC) and then sign an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract to build the road on a single source basis. The brief queries why a previous model financed by the World Bank was abandoned and how it was determined that the single sourcing approach would offer taxpayers better value for money and would be faster than a PPP.  “Although the proposal is being referred to as ‘alternative project concept’ or ‘highway development concept,’ it is simply a non-competitive, single source procurement of an EPC contractor who is able to bring financing with it,” the brief notes. Engineer George Kiiru, the head of PPP at Kenha, told the Sunday Standard that the government changed its focus from a PPP to EPC because it will be delivered faster as compared to PPP. Shorter period


 “Achieving commercial and financial close for PPP contracts can take two to three years thereby delaying the start of construction and completion of the project,” Kiiru said. “A comparative analysis between a PPP model for a 20-30 year concession shows cumulative repayments under the PPP approach would be higher compared to the alternative approach with ECA (US Exim/OPIC) support,” Kiiru said. The brief from the State Department of Infrastructure, however, intimates that there is no reason to suggest that the construction will take longer under the PPP arrangement. “Indeed, there are strong arguments that overall construction period may be shorter under the PPP project as it splits construction between three different EPC contractors. In any event, the constraining factor is always likely to be land acquisition, so it would be a mistake to assume that the Betchel proposal can deliver construction completion more quickly,” the brief notes.   Kenha says the government is yet to determine the exact cost of the project and is waiting for a complete detailed design, which is yet to be undertaken, before it can determine the actual cost. Kenha also refused to give a cost range that the project is expected to fall in on grounds that it did not want to speculate despite the fact that costs are the first considerations in deciding if a project is viable or not. Costs per kilometre “This project is a government to government initiative. The US Government nominated Betchel International to work with the implementing Agencies in Kenya to develop the project,” Kiiru said. In 2015, Kenha says, the governments of Kenya and the US signed a memorandum of understanding for development of priority infrastructure projects supporting Kenya’s Vision 2030. Kenya later held discussions with the US government for development of the highway. The US, through the US Exim Bank, has provided a letter of support to Betchel for the Nairobi–Mombasa Expressway under a proposed government to government agreement.

“The US Exim Bank has shown interest to finance the project together with other US Export Credit Agencies such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC),” Kenha said in its response. The brief says Betchel’s construction costs per kilometer are higher than estimates presented to the ministry by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on construction costs for the PPP approach of Sh600 million per kilometre versus Sh500 million per kilometre ($6 million Vs $5 million). “The per kilometre costs under the PPP proposal includes all taxes and duties while Betchel’s proposal assumes complete tax exemption for the project (corporate tax, income tax and import duties) which could reasonably be assumed to cost the government an additional Sh100 million per kilometre,” the brief notes. It goes on to argue that as part of the American firm’s proposal, an advance payment of Sh30 billion and also a payment of Sh10 billion as ‘establishment fee’ will be required. “So Betchel will be Sh40 billion in funds and highly cash positive before the start of the project whereby the government will be paying interest on this sum from day one as this will be drawn immediately by Betchel at contract signing,” the brief notes. There is also a further Sh6 billion of design management fees. The proposal from the American firm excluded all relevant taxes.

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001255435/billion-shilling-u-turn-that-will-cruise-you-to-coast-in-three-hours

September 21, 2017

Tender Sytesm Vs Cops




Systemic delay in repairing roads.Systemic delay in repairing roads.


HYDERABAD: The long-drawn tender process followed by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) for relaying dug-up roads should either be done away with completely or streamlined to put the city's road infrastructure back on track, feel traffic cops.

Pointing out that currently it takes at least six months to complete just the tender process for restoration of dug up roads, which the city just cannot afford, traffic cops said there are several instances of road stretches being dug up repeatedly and not being re-surfaced, leaving behind un-motorable roads as the civic body's tender process takes its own sweet time.

As per the current system, when an agency seeks permission from GHMC for road digging, cost of required restoration work has to be submitted by the agency to the civic body before taking up the work. However, the tender process for restoring roads starts only after digging is completed.

"While it not possible to refuse permission for any development work, in most cases the contractor just dumps mud or loose gravel on the stretches. It is the gap between the completion of work and the actual filling of the road that results in traffic woes. We have suggested that the procedural fulfilling of tender be done away with and the road be filled immediately after the work is done," said AV Ranganath, deputy commissioner of police, traffic (Hyderabad II).


In fact, Malkajgiri, Anandbagh, Banjara Hills (Road No 5), Ayyappa Society , Secunderabad, LB Nagar, Bowenpally , Madhavpuri Hills, Chandanagar, PJR Enclave, KPHB and Sultan bazaar are examples of areas where such dug up road stretches have become a never-ending nightmare.


"The Maharani Jhansi Road from Putlibowli Chowrasta to Afzalganj has been in a poor condition for the past two ye ars. Only surgical repair work by pouring bitumen is done after the frequent digging work," complained resident Balasubramanyam Perugu.

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Chandramohan Singh, a resident of Marredpally , said, "The road from Reliance Fresh super market to the check post in West Marredpally was repaired about six months back but is back to its potholed self. Even the road near Lions Hospital, which was dug up for laying drainage pipes, has not been restored."


While GHMC authorities admitted the tender process takes at least two months, they said that in the case of Malkajgiri the delays stretched to nearly a year because the payment was completed only recently by Water Board, which has taken up pipeline laying work. "Once the work is completed, estimates are drawn up and sent for sanction. Then a tender is called for and a contractor is decided. The process requires at least two months.While dealing with other departments we can't press for payment beforehand," said M Shanker, deputy chief engineer, maintenance, GHMC.

Source- Times of India

September 7, 2017

What Keeps u Moving ?

Event-driven projects 'shielding Mena economies'

DUBAI, 21 hours, 28 minutes ago

The Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region has undergone an enormous change over the past two decades, with unprecedented growth in economies and construction markets as countries in the region leveraged booming oil prices to invest in infrastructure and transform their cities into modern metropolises, according to an industry expert.

But over-reliance on oil revenues has caused government spending (and consequently growth) to fall as the oil price dropped, leaving the countries of the region seeking to reprioritise spending towards diversifying their economies and funding social investment, said Mace, an international consultancy and construction company.

Despite a rebound in GCC contract awards in H1 2017 of 14 per cent from a four-year low in 2016, results are still down 20 per cent from the same time last year, showing a challenging market, stated Mace's Mena cost consultancy business in its H2 tender cost report.

This competitive pricing environment has led to relatively stable tender price inflation across the region, ranging from 0.4 per cent in Kuwait to 2.5 per cent in Saudi Arabia, it said.

Event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies have proven a saving grace against this difficult backdrop, as has continued government investment in infrastructure and energy projects across the region, it added.

"Continuing the trend from 2016, the first half of 2017 has been competitive for the Mena construction market due to the low oil prices resulting in restricted government spending across the region," remarked Fergus Rossiter, the director of Mace Cost Consultancy (Mena).
"However, as the work for upcoming major events starts to ramp up, notably Expo 2020 in the UAE and the Fifa Football World Cup in Qatar, we are starting to see an increase in tender prices, which is further fuelled by recent increases in material prices, such as reinforcement steel," he noted
"We are yet to see the full impact of the current blockade has on the construction industry in Qatar, particularly as it relies heavily upon a large quantity of materials being imported from Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” he added.

Across the region tender prices have remained relatively stable, however there are considerable variations to be observed within the markets: some regions are reporting a softening in prices, while others experience some capacity constraints which are pushing them up.

Overall, the pricing environment remains very competitive with tender price inflation ranging from only 0.4 per cent to 2.5 per cent for 2017; client organisations are likely to continue to push to get the best possible prices, said Mace in its report.

Lower global commodity prices and increased competition for fewer privately and government financed projects is filtering through to increasingly competitive pricing in many markets, and despite there being plenty of work to fill order books, contractor and consultant prospects are vulnerable to tender periods taking longer to conclude, if at all, especially given recent government spending cutbacks due to the low oil price, it stated.

Contractors on key infrastructure or event-driven projects are less likely to be impacted by this, given the critical nature of these projects to the region’s ongoing economic diversification, however for the mainstream construction market, the competitive environment along with few capacity constraints in labour or materials and low commodity prices are all adding up to clients pressing for lower costs, it added.

According to Mace, factors such as the introduction of VAT across the region from 2018, as well as other taxes which may be levied as governments seek to consolidate their finances, are likely to put upward pressure on tender prices as contractors factor in these additional costs.

This effect will be particularly strongly felt in Saudi Arabia, with the highest tender price inflation at 2.5 per cent reflecting rising costs from newly imposed taxes and removal of subsidies for water and electricity, amongst others, as the Kingdom seeks to consolidate its finances.

Qatar is also expected to see some inflation in tender prices to reflect the greater materials cost risk, as new tenders force contractors to contractually bear the brunt of the costs of the blockade on the country, said the report.

Egypt is not considered in the Meed tender price index, but can be expected to see significant tender price inflation this year of at least 5 per cent, due to both the relatively hot construction market and the massive currency depreciation over the past year.

However some countries are faring better than others, with the UAE and Qatar boosted by their event-driven projects and relatively diversified economies, whilst Saudi Arabia and Oman struggle with reduced oil revenues, said the report by Mace.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE remain the biggest markets for construction projects, with the emirates looking likely to overtake the kingdom as the biggest next year, as their construction industry outperforms, stated the industry expert.

When considered with the completion dates edging closer for key event-driven projects such as the World Cup in Qatar, or the Expo 2020 in Dubai, strong demand-driven factors will counteract some of the damage from reduced government spending to the industry.

Locations less impacted by low oil prices are expected to outperform, with Dubai and Bahrain looking to beat Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. In addition, significant investment in port, road, railway and airport infrastructure across the region continues, with for example $37 billion worth of road projects being pursued across the GCC, it added.-
TradeArabia News Service

September 6, 2017

Road Projects

Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS 
MARK STEENBOK 
15:22 (GMT+2) Tue, 05 Sep 2017
Contractors finalised for a number of road projects in FS  | News Article
The Free State Department of Police, Roads, and Transport says there are a number of roads in the province that still need to be fixed.

MEC Sam Mashinini today said that these roads, including the one between Odendaalsrus and Wesselsbron, are not covered in the current financial year and needs attention. He added that since the end of July the department has finalised tenders for successful contractors for a number of road projects in the province. The handover site meetings for, among others, the Kroonstad-Steynsrus, Vredefort-Hoopstad, Vredefort-Viljoenskroon and Bothaville-Viljoenskroon roads commenced yesterday. He says the department needs to maintain these roads once it is completed.
“One of the problems that I am currently giving attention to, is how best do we make sure that the roads in the province are maintained over the long term. I have deliberately asked the different stakeholders to say how,  once the road between Bothaville and Viljoenskroon is completed, we can maintain it. That road is economically viable in terms of the farms there. That road is mostly used and that’s why we are targeting it,” says Mashinini.
He adds that the department’s objective is to build capacity by investing in human resources through skills development. He says the department wants to create a sustainable economic climate in the province and to deliver public infrastructure by using labour intensive technology.
He says from 2008 until last year they have had an intake of 173 contractors of which 83 graduated. In total 78 is still active and engaged in projects in the province.

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

September 29, 2016

Global Bitumen Market

The global bitumen market is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of four percent between 2015 to 2020, and the world’s largest energy traders such as the Vitol Group and the Trafigura Group Pte. are in a race to increase their market share.

The bitumen market was valued at around $75 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $94 billion in 2020, according to a report by Zion Research, titled, “Bitumen (Paving Bitumen, Oxidized Bitumen, Cutback Bitumen, Bitumen Emulsion, Polymer Modified Bitumen and Others) Market for Roadways, Waterproofing, Adhesives, Insulation and Other Applications - Global Industry Perspective, Comprehensive Analysis and Forecast, 2014 – 2020”.

Bitumen is a semi-solid form of petroleum, which is used to make asphalt for roads, waterproofing for roofs, insulation, and adhesives. It is either obtained by distillation of petroleum or is available naturally, such as in Canada’s oil sands.

Bitumen is used mainly in road manufacturing. A surge in road construction activity in Asia will propel growth for the product going forward. 75 percent of the global consumption of bitumen was used for road construction in 2014.

Waterproofing of roofing and building construction was the second major consumer of bitumen in 2014. Increased construction of homes to cater for the growing population is likely to add to the bitumen demand in the future.

Along with roofing, polymer modified bitumen (PMB), which is used as a chemical additive and adhesive, will witness rapid growth compared to other forms of bitumen.

Trucks, trains, and barges have been used traditionally to transport bitumen from refineries to local consumers; however, a drop in supply from the aging refineries in the U.S. and Europe has necessitated the use of oceangoing tankers, to supply the material from its source of production to the end consumer.

Vitol, the largest independent oil-trading house teamed up with U.S.-based Sargeant Marine Inc., which distributes asphalt to customers worldwide to form Valt, which operates the world’s largest dedicated asphalt fleet, handling parcel sizes from 20 metric tons up to 37,000 metric tons through its fleet of fourteen specialist vessels, according to its website.

“It used to be mostly a small distribution business,” Chris Bake, a senior executive at Rotterdam-based Vitol, said in an interview. “Now it is more of a whole arbitrage business requiring a global reach and shipping capacity,” reports Bloomberg.

Trafigura group is also not far behind. Its Singapore-based unit, Puma Energy has added four new bitumen vessels, taking the total number of vessels to 11, which cater to the Asian markets.

“We see a definite upward trend in the number of nautical miles for bitumen,” said Valt Chief Commercial Officer Nick Fay, who estimates an annual increase of about 7 percent. “All the new refineries that are getting built don’t make bitumen,” reports Bloomberg.

The Guvnor Group is planning to invest in the Perth Amboy asphalt refinery and storage facility in New Jersey, which has been shut since 2008, reports Bloomberg.

There is hardly any public information about the bitumen market, which makes it ideal for the large energy traders, who use their energy expertise and global connection to supply to far-off markets.

“There is a perception that the world is going to be more disconnected -- supply and demand-wise -- and we are there to help connect the dots,” Klintholm said.

Nonetheless, increased use of asphalt for roads and environmental concerns with bitumen manufacturing could pose a risk for the growth of the bitumen industry in the future.

By Rakesh Upadhyay for Oilprice.com

June 22, 2016

Chile Road Projects Tender

Chile is pushing ahead with infrastructure development. The Ministry of Public Works intends to award five to seven projects during 2016. 

The Ministry of Public Works has also set a target of having 12-13 major infrastructure projects being awarded and worth a total of US$6 billion by the time the current administration comes to the end of its term.

One road project due to be awarded shortly is for the phase two of the Vespucio Oriente link. The tender is expected to open in July 2016. 
The projects for the Ruta de la Fruta, El Loa link and the road from Los Vilos to La Serena will also be put to tender in 2016. Meanwhile the tender process for the $1 billion Costanera Central project will be put out to tender in 2017.

First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com

May 18, 2016

NHAI to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways

The Detailed Project Report for laying of a road connecting Anantapur in Rayalaseema with new Capital City of Amaravati will be ready in two months, said Transport and R&B Minister Sidda Raghava Rao.

The straight road, to be funded by the Centre, is expected to cost about Rs.18,000 crore and once ready, the travel time between the two cities will be just six hours.

A team of officials comprising Roads &Buildings Principal Secretary Sam Bob, Engineer in Chief and others left for San Francisco on a study tour on execution of such projects, he said.

Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Raghava Rao detailed the work done by the department ahead of the Andhra Pradesh Government completing two years on June 8.
While the length of roads under R&B is 45,000 km, nearly 4,000 km single-lane roads were widened into two-lane roads.

“While the 10-year rule by the Congress left the roads in a shambles, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu took it upon himself to improve their condition in the State and also lay new roads. Roads are the basic infrastructure required for the industrial development”, he said.

The Government’s objective was to connect rural areas to mandal headquarters, mandals to district headquarters and the district headquarters to the new Capital City Amaravati.

In the current financial year another 2,517 km of single-lane roads would be widened into two-lane roads, 38 km of two-lane roads would be developed into four-lane roads.

Road bridges

The department also proposes to construct nine Road Over Bridges and 25 bridges. Special repairs would be taken up on 2,412 km of roads.

The National Highways Authority of India gave a commitment to convert 1,205 km of State Highways into National Highways. The Roads &Buildings Department allocated Rs.3,000 crore during current fiscal for development of State highways and link roads.

In the 2014-15 fiscal, 1,336 km of roads were widened into two-lane roads and another 3,089 km of roads were repaired and three Road over Bridges and another 20 bridges constructed.
In the 2015-16 financial year, 2,636 km single-lane roads were developed into two-lane roads and special repairs were carried out on 2,890 km of roads besides constructing five RoBs and 18 bridges.

World Bank funds

The roads being laid with World Bank funds such as Rajahmundry to Kakinada were monitored and the contractors who do not execute quality work removed. The R&B also took over 5,420 km of Panchayat Raj roads recently and tenders were being called shortly to develop 545 km of roads.

For the Krishna Pushkaram, R&B would spend Rs.389 crore on improvement of roads and the works completed by July-end, he said.

Source- The Hindu

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

February 22, 2016

Coastal Road Phase 1

The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project.
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) is yet to give its final nod for the Rs 12,000-crore coastal road project, but the BMC is gearing up to begin work on it and will be rolling out the work tenders for the first phase in three months. Apart from Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearances, the civic body is also awaiting clearances from the Navy as well as the Coast Guard, before actual construction of the coastal road begins.

The current BMC budget has made an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for the project. The decision to roll out the work tenders was taken after the peer review report on the first phase. It is a detailed study of the project and covers the shortcomings of the consultant’s report. It was submitted on February 17.

“The peer review report for phase 1 of the coastal road project is complete and the tenders for the first phase stretching from Priyadarshini Park to Bandra will be out in three months,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee.

Apart from making recommendations on the number of lanes, the report also includes a data analysis for different times of the day.

Source: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/maharashtra-work-tenders-for-phase-i-of-coastal-road-in-3-months/

February 18, 2016

Global Bitumen Market @ 72 B and is Growing

ALBANY, New YorkFebruary 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
The global bitumen market will expand at a CAGR of 3.90% from 2014 to 2020. The market was valued atUS$71.44 billion in 2013. It is expected to reach US$93.38 billion by the end of 2020, according to a research report released by Transparency Market Research. The report titled "Global Bitumen Market - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020".
According to the research report, the global bitumen market is primarily driven by the growing rate of use in construction of roadways around the world. The report states that there is a rapid increase in the rate of creation of roadways and other related activities, creating a high demand for the global bitumen market. Polymer modified bitumen, a type of bitumen, is highly preferred due to the advantages it provides, such as high porosity, high skid resistance, and low noise. All three properties are the most sought-after ones in the global roadways industry, giving PMB an advantage over other materials.
The global bitumen market's growth rate is, however, restrained to a high degree by the environmental hazards created by the use of bitumen. The report segments the global bitumen market in terms of products and applications, and also provides a geographical dissection. By products, the global bitumen market was dominated by PMB in 2013. The segment held more than 65% of the market for that year and is expected to be the fastest-growing segment for the report's forecast period. PMB is also used for waterproofing purposes.
The report states that more than 80% of the global bitumen market, from the perspective of applications, was dominated by road construction in 2013. Other applications of bitumen arise in automotive, adhesives, paints and enamels, and the roofing industries. From a geographical point of view, the global bitumen market was led by North America in 2013. North America took up over 30% of the global bitumen market in 2013, a market share attributed to expansion of state infrastructure. However, the report states that the fastest growth rate in the global bitumen market for its given forecast period will be held by the Asia Pacific region owing to rapid rate of industrialization.
The key players of the global bitumen market are Villas Austria GmbH, Valero Energy Corporation, Shell Bitumen, Petroleos Mexicanos, Nynas AB, NuStar Energy, JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation, Marathon Oil Company, Indian Oil Corporation, ExxonMobil, China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation ChevronTexaco Corporation, British Petroleum, and Bouygues S.A., The report states that the global bitumen market is highly competitive and fragmented due to the presence of a large number of regional players.
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Key segments of the Global Bitumen Market 
Bitumen Market - Product Segment Analysis 

Bitumen Market - Application Analysis 
Roadways 

Waterproofing (Roofing) 

Adhesive 
Insulation 
Others (including decorative and industrial applications) 
Bitumen Market - Regional Analysis 
  • North America
  • Europe
  • China
  • Asia Pacific (Excluding China)
  • Rest of World (RoW)

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January 16, 2016

Green Bitumen from Canada

PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY, which is planning to build the world’s “greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery” in Canada has announced plans to transport bitumen to the refinery by rail in a near-solid “neatbit” state.
The company initially announced that it would build the C$15bn (US$10bn) refinery on the British Columbian coast back in 2014, and would export refined products, rather than raw bitumen, to Asia. It has now submitted a full formal project description, produced by SNC Lavalin, to Canadian regulators. The refinery will refine bitumen from oilsands in western Canada.
Bitumen is usually transported by pipeline as “dilbit”, a diluted, more fluid version containing about 70% bitumen and 30% diluent, or by rail as “railbit”, which contains around 88% bitumen. Pacific Future Energy, however, believes that transporting neatbit, which is as the name suggests, 100% bitumen, is more environmentally sound. 
The company describes neatbit as having “a consistency similar to peanut butter”, which does not flow unless heated. It has very low flammability, is stable, and is classified as non-dangerous for transport. In the rare chance of a train derailment or a crash, the bitumen could not flow anywhere and would be much easier to clean up, minimising environmental damage. 
First Nations groups and environmentalists alike have criticised plans for pipelines through pristine landscapes. In addition, Pacific Future Energy has pledged to use TC-117 railcars, a new model specifically designed for oil transport.
Pacific Future Energy has selected an area known as the Dubose Flats in which to build the 200,000 bbl/d refinery. The refinery will be powered by wood waste biomass, from the local forestry industry, and the company claims its net carbon emissions will be near zero. 
Exporting refined products will pose less of a risk than raw bitumen to the marine environment in the case of a spill. The refinery is expected to create 3,500 jobs during construction and 1,000 during operation.
“Not only would our proposal provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would also protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said CEO Robert Delamar.
Pacific Future Energy will consult with Canada’s First Nations, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office and the public as it finalises plans for the refinery. The company hopes to begin construction in 2018, with startup scheduled for 2021.
Several other bitumen refining plants are planned on the British Columbia coast, including by Eagle Spirit Energy and newspaper tycoon David Black.