3 Apr 2017

Chinese company wins Vanuatu runway upgrade contract

6:27 pm on 3 April 2017

A Chinese company has been awarded the Vanuatu runway upgrade project worth $US47 million.

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Photo: RNZ

The Vanuatu newspaper the Daily Post reported this came after a months-long stand-off between the government and the World Bank, which was funding the project, over the government's choice of contractor.

A successful bidder was supposed to have been announced in January.

But the paper reported that this was hampered by differences of opinion concerning bid price and a lack of confidence in the capability of some of the bidders.

Late last week the Vanuatu government told the World Bank it would be going public with its choice of contractor, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company, with or without the bank's approval.

By Friday morning the World Bank had approved the government's choice.

A World Bank spokesperson told the Vanuatu Daily Post the bank fully appreciated the sense of frustration felt by many regarding delays in finalizing the tender evaluation, however due to the critical importance of the runway to Vanuatu, getting things right by following proper procurement processes and due diligence was essential.

A spokesperson for the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company told the paper the company would release an official statement once it has received formal notification of its selection.

The poor state of Vanuatu's Bauerfield runway discovered by local authorities in 2016 resulted in the cancellation of services by several major international airlines including Air New Zealand and Qantas.