Image credits: FONATUR
News Article

First Mayan Train Winning Bid Announced

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 04/24/2020 - 16:33

FONATUR unveiled the winning consortium that will be in charge of the construction of the first segment of the Mayan Train during a press conference on April 23. The winner is the Lumat consortium, formed by the union of Mota Engil Mexico, China Communications Construction Company, Gavil Ingeniería, Eyasa and Grupo Cosh. According to FONATUR, the consortium placed a US$622.18 million bid. In FONATUR’s report of the 14 original bids published on April 1, Lumat Consortium was listed with a bid of a little under US$536.77 million, the second lowest bid after the US$535.97 million bid set by the consortium led by Villahermosa company Grupo Vázquez del Sur. Any number of factors could have influenced the difference in the bidding amount. These could include the accelerated economic changes resulting from the impact of COVID-19 shutdowns and bottoming oil barrel prices. Variations in the dollar-peso exchange rate should also be taken into account.

Mota Engil Mexico is the Mexican subsidiary of Portuguese infrastructure, engineering and construction giant Mota Engil, with over 70 years of history and presence in Europe, Africa and Latin America. According to its website, its other currently ongoing projects in Mexico include the “Siervo de la Nación” highway in State of Mexico, the Cardel-Poza Rica highway and the Tuxpan-Tampico highway. The company has completed the expansion of Guadalajara’s light rail infrastructure, a bypass in the Acapulco highway and the Perote-Xalapa highway (including the construction of its Fidelidad bridge). It also maintains a national presence in other sectors though subsidiaries, such as Grupo GISA for environmental management and Generadora Fénix for energy. 

China Communications Construction Company is a multinational focusing on engineering and construction and it is also a parastatal owned by the Chinese government. Forbes reports that its work in Mexico includes the construction of an industrial park with manufacturing capabilities in the state of Jalisco. El Economista reports that Eyasa, Grupo Cosh and Gavil Ingeniera are all smaller regional Mexican infrastructure companies, although Eyasa has worked previously with Mota Engil and also with construction company OHL. 

In a statement to El Economista, National Chamber of Consulting Companies (CNEC) President Marco Gutiérrez lamented what he considers the excessive presence of foreign companies and minimal presence of Mexican companies to merely fulfill national content requirements in this bid. According to Gutiérrez, “Eyasa is from Xalapa and too small to participate in what will be this administration’s biggest project. Grupo Cosh is dedicated to construction in the state of Querétaro and is also small. We have no idea who Gavil Ingeniería is. It is not coherent with what our country’s president has been talking about regarding more being made in Mexico by Mexicans.”  

This first segment covers the initial 227km from Palenque, Chiapas to Escárcega, Campeche and it will include the rehabilitation of existing rail lines that were part of the Chiapas-Mayab network. Contracts must be signed on time for work to begin next Thursday April 30. If existing schedules are to be followed this closely, the next announcement of the winning bid for the construction of the train’s second segment can be expected on April 30, according to previously reported information. The Lumat consortium, with that exact same composition, also participated on that second segment with a bid of US$769.95 million. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
FONATUR, MBN, El Economista, Forbes, Mota Engil
Photo by:   FONATUR
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst