[PL] The chaotic tender procedure of PKP IC; Newag has the best bid for new electrics [updated]

Update 06.02.2018: Today, the ‘National Board of Appeal’ rejected Pesa’s request to appeal the decision of PKP IC to award Newag with a contract to deliver 20 (+10 as option) electric locomotives. This means PKP IC and Newag can now sign the final contract. Pesa filed a complaint because it believed Newag’s bid for service/maintenance costs (43 points in the tender) was too low. The rejection however is not the last hurdle to take – also Newag’s bid exceeded PKP IC’s budget, so negotiations are still needed.

We published the information below on 08.11.2017: 

The Polish railways want new electric locomotives, 20 to be more precise, to be used for domestic intercity services. But the tender process was a chaos, like PKP IC’s locomotive fleet strategy over the past years. During the past months, changes werte made to the tender several times; The original deadline was 30.09.2017, got changed several times and finally became 30.10.2017. The entry requirements for manufacturers were altered as it was originally virtually impossible for Polish companies Pesa and Newag to enter the competition. Also, the weight of the bid evaluation criteria was changed several times.

The original tender was published on 29.07.2017. Back then, all the new machines should be delivered within 30 months after awarding the contract. The maximum speed of the new electrics should be ‘not lower as’ 160 km/h. An option was included for ten more electrics.

Right away, the Polish industry strongly criticised the tender. It included the demand that the manufacturer had to be able to show it had successfully delivered 10 locomotives over the past 3 years, which both Pesa (has not built enough electrics) and Newag (has built enough Dragon and Griffin locomotives, but some of them are older then 3 years) could not do. Both Pesa and Newag were unpleasantly surprised by this rule as they were both consulted closely involved in the preparation of the tender (the ‘technical dialogue’).

PKP IC quickly changed the tender and admitted it was a failure, but other issues emerged. The tender criteria were generally qualified as ‘vague’ and ‘unfair’, thus raising many questions from the manufacturers to PKP IC. To be able to address all concerns the deadline had to be changed several times and finally became 30.10.2017, one month later.

Several bid evaluation criteria were also altered. The maximum number of points for unit price (35 > 40 > 44), service maintenance costs (35 > 40 > 43) and the maximum number of events causing ‘loss of essential operating characteristics’ per vehicle per 250.000 km (3 > 3 > 6) were raised. Delivery time (10 > 0) became irrelevant. Technical availability (4) and reliability (3) were not changed.

Early November 2017, the outcome of the tender was published. Only three companies submitted a final bid: Newag (winner), Pesa (2nd) and CRRC from China (3rd). But all offers are above PKP IC’s budget. Now PKP IC has to find a solution…

Sources consulted: ted.europa.eu / inforail.pl / rynek-kolejowy.pl

Railcolor: Newag’s electric locomotive platform for speeds of at least 160 km/u is called Griffin. During the summer of 2017, Newag tested its Griffin prototype locomotive’s (E4MSU-001) compatibility with modernised PKP IC passenger coaches. A video has been released of the train on Krakow – Tarnów route: