CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP

Colombia 2015 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | FOCUS: CONSTRUCTION 4G

The pledge to improve the country's roads and intercity infrastructure was one of the most important promises made during Santos' re-election campaign. Vice-President Germán Vargas Lleras has been a force of nature in moving forward with the contracts.

The fourth generation of concessions (4G) infrastructural master plan is without doubt the largest investment plan of its kind in Colombia's history, and will create over 7,000km of roads. The project is primarily focused on improving interconnectivity between cities and adjacent port facilities, as well as infrastructure in Colombia's frontier regions that boarder Venezuela and Ecuador. The project is expected to generate over 400,000 jobs—both direct and indirect.

In November 2014, Vice-President Germán Vargas Lleras, Transport Minister Natalia Abello, and Director of the Agencia Nacional de Infrastructura Luis Fernando Andrade began touring Colombia to ensure the timely delivery and fair awarding of the tender processes for the first four phases of project's awarding.
During TBY''s interview with Andrade in 2015, he was very optimistic about the pace and efficiency of the projects. By the end of January 2015, the first phase of megaprojects was awarded. The first phase of ten projects alone represent over $6 billion in investment and set a new record for investment in Colombia's concessionary projects.

In addition to these three combined packages, there exists a fourth package for unsolicited offers that multinationals, seasoned constructors, and investors are able to pitch for. To date several actors from the Colombian private sector have come forward with their proposals, which the ANI consequently then put out to market to solicit alternative offers. For example the Ocaña Gamara project was pitched, and consequently awarded to Odebrecht.

By March 2015, construction was underway for the majority of the first phase of 4G projects that had been awarded, including the last one, Mulaló-Loboguerrero, the highway that will reduce the three-hour journey from Cali to the Pacific coastal port-hub of Buenaventura by up to 45 minutes. This project is being executed by Episol, an affiliate of Grupo Aval, which formed a consortium with the Spanish firm Iridium. The project will be 32km long, of which 4.1km will be a dual carriageway, with a total of nine tunnels that amount to 12.4km in length, and 35 bridges. The work is scheduled for completion by 2022.

The second and third rounds of concessions at the time of writing were set to be awarded in June and December 2015 respectively, and to date, all tenders and awarding have run smoothly. In terms of awarding contracts for the second projects, Vargas Lleras affirmed in a national press conference in January that each project would have particular dates and timeframes. At the end of December 2014 the prequalified list was announced, before the ANI began receiving proposals from prospective protagonists in May and June, and finally in June and July the contracts would be awarded.

By April 2015 candidate lists to submit proposals were almost finalized for the Neiva-Santa Ana-Mocoa; Rumichaca-Pasto; and Popayán-Santander de Quilichao projects. These projects are all focused on the rapid development of the communities in the south of Colombia.

Wilson Leon Cubellos
WILSON LEON CUBELLOS
General Manager, Iceín
Public-private Law 1508 is an initiative that has enabled private investors to become involved, but unfortunately lacks operational effectiveness, because thus far there is no single body overseeing the entire process, to explain how the state finances such projects. The law still requires development. A clearer system of who will respond when a PPE is developed needs to be elaborated. We have worked for three years assisting seminars in the same congresses of engineering where we talk about APPs, but the exact process remains unclear.