PORR-led consortium secures contract for Austria’s biggest tunnelling project
A consortium led by Vienna-based PORR and its Salzburg-based subsidiary Hinteregger has secured a new €1bn contract for the construction of Austria’s largest ever tunnelling project.
The contract will require the consortium to construct the H51 Pfons-Brenner lot, an 18km stretch of the Brenner Base Tunnel project that in total will extend to a length of 64km, connecting Italy and Austria.
“To be charged with building the largest tunnelling project in Austria is a sign of how highly valued our expertise is,” said PORR CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss. “The scope of the project, the changeable geological conditions and the limited space constraints of the construction site all represent considerable challenges.”
The construction phase of lot H51 will involve the building of two tunnel tubes between Pfons and Brenner that combined will stretch 9km, with up to 30metres to be driven per day with tunnel boring machines at a diameter of 10.37metres.
“On highly demanding, large-scale projects such as the “Green Line” metro in Doha, we have proven that we are capable of mastering exceptionally complex tasks within the promised time and quality – and on budget,” Strauss said. “This certainly worked in our favour in the award process for the Brenner Base Tunnel.”
Completion of the project is forecast for 2024.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.