Russian Railways intends to create a very strong consortium with French state railway company SNCF to bid for Greece’s Trainose. The consortium will be up against China’s Cosco, which is also set to table an offer for the Greek railway operating company.
Reliable sources say that the agreement for a joint bid between the Russians, who have the third-biggest network in the world stretching from Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean across 85,000 kilometers, with the French, whose tracks cover some 30,000 kilometers, is already sealed.
During a recent visit to Greece, Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin suggested that the company was already planning to bid for Trainose, saying, “There are Western European companies that are interested in cooperating in bidding for Trainose.”
SNCF is no stranger to Greece’s railways, having supplied its know-how on numerous occasions over the last 100 years, although it had earlier refuted that it was interested in Trainose. Now it appears the French will be among the main suitors for the Greek company in a consortium that may also include Greek participants.
Russian news agency Prime reported on Tuesday that the Kopelouzos Group has proposed an alliance for a joint bid with Russian Railways. “We are in constant contact with Russian Railways. We are expecting a response,” Kopelouzos Group official Giorgos Papadopoulos reportedly told Prime. The Russian side refused to comment on the report. Other sources are saying that GEK Terna is interested in taking part in the Franco-Russian consortium.
Cosco will table an offer for Trainose if Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) agrees to reduce the Chinese firm’s costs for the use of the docks according to the concession contract drawn up in 2009. OLP has signaled it will accept Cosco’s demand.