The annual Rail Baltica Procurement Webinar took place at the end of March 2023 with a goal to update potential suppliers and key partners about the current Rail Baltica procurement plans and address supplier questions. Experts from Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS, and the national implementing bodies Rail Baltic Estonia, “Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas”, and LTG Infra joined the event.
The webinar also served as a platform for suppliers to understand better the procurement process, approach, and requirements to succeed in future tenders. The experts discussed the procurement policy key aspects, including expectations towards the market, and major tenders planned for 2023.
Common Procurement Standards and Guidelines
CPSG principles are applied across the whole Rail Baltica global project and followed by all project implementers to ensure that the key aspects - fairness, free competition, transparency, equal treatment, non-discrimination, value for money, efficient use of resources and standardization, common set of minimum requirements for qualification, social and environmental sustainability, anti-corruption, and avoidance of conflict of interest are followed throughout the procurement process.
“From the supplier market we as always expect the best practise application to aspects related to labour, health and safety, traffic management, human rights, impact on the environment to name a few. Considering the Russian war in Ukraine, currently there are 11 sanctions packages applied including to Rail Baltica procurement. Our position is clear – the project and our supply base needs to have a handle of application on the sanctions, and there cannot be Russian or Belarusian suppliers in the supply chain,” said Kristjan Piirsalu, Head of Procurement at RB Rail AS.
Kristjan Piirsalu also shared the results from the latest Supplier Survey during which 40 companies from 14 different within the Baltics and EU countries provided feedback on different aspects related to the administration of Rail Baltica procurement. According to the survey results, the overall quality of the tendering process has seen a slight decrease in overall satisfaction, with 73% reporting a positive experience in 2022 compared to the previous year's 77%. This can be attributed to the energy crisis and war in Ukraine, which had a significant impact. However, 23% of respondents rated the tendering process quality as ‘very high’ this year, representing a 10% increase from 2021. While there is still room for improvement to expedite the process, the results remain high and encouraging.
Furthermore, Piirsalu and Vaiko Eggert (COO at Rail Baltic Estonia), Einārs Jaunzems (Director of the Project Implementation and Management Department at Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas) and Mantas Kaušylas (Head of Projects Implementation at Rail Baltica Management at LTG Infra) provided an insight into the ongoing major Rail Baltica tenders, such as the design of Vilnius-Kaunas mainline, Kaunas-Polish border mainline, and Kaunas Urban Node mainline in Lithuania, design and build of Electrification, Command-Control and Signalling, the procurement for Consolidated Materials (e.g., Rails, Ballast, Sleepers, Turnouts), mainline procurement in Latvia, mainline railway substructures in Estonia, viaducts and terminals in Estonia, and others.
The Procurement Webinar 2023 attracted the attention of around 1250 interested parties from 13 countries, including the Baltic States, Poland, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Canada, and Portugal.