RB Rail: Local workforce not enough for building Rail Baltic

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Kaspars Rokens, COO and management board member of RB Rail AS, the joint venture of the three Baltic countries for the implementation of the Rail Baltic railway project, said that the establishment of Rail Baltic will not be possible without using a foreign workforce, the Estonian daily Postimees reports.

"I am fully convinced that we will not be able to realize this project without using a foreign workforce. This especially as there will be other infrastructure projects built at the same time as the railway infrastructure," Rokens told the newspaper.

"There is currently no certain knowledge of how it will be organized. This will be a great challenge for the government to organize both immigration procedures as well as the accommodation of workers," he said.

At the same time, Rokens said that it is likely that local companies will fulfill the tenders concerning Rail Baltic to a great extent. "In European large-scale projects, which are won by international companies, the local component can reach even more than 60 percent. There are equal opportunities for the entrepreneurs of Europe and the Baltic states and a large part of the money will remain in the Baltic countries," Rokens said.

When it comes to procurements, Rokens said that the factor determining the winner will not only be the price, but also other aspects. "The European procurement law states that the price makes up 30-40 percent of the assessment given to the offer. Therefore, the impact of reuse can turn out to be a very important indicator alongside the price when making a final decision. But we are of course ruling out the possibility that one bidder is given an advantage in front of another," he said.

"We are not ruling out procurements with one bidder, but we are ruling out that procurements could be formed after one single bidder. We wish to see at least three bidders, then we can be sure that at least one of them will qualify. Otherwise, market participants may say that this is not equal treatment," Rokens said.

Rail Baltica is an attempt to provide a high-speed rail link using European-gauge tracks connecting Warsaw to Helsinki via the Baltic states. It is expected to cost nearly 6 billion euros with the majority of funds coming from the European Union. 

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