Translated by Zeina Nasser

 

After a delay of 44 days from the assigned date, the trading desk at the “CDR” received today, the companies’ offers for the collection and transportation of wastes on two service areas in the Mount Lebanon governorate; the first includes the districts of Kesserwan and Metn, and the second includes the districts of Baabda, Aley and Chouf.

The main reason for postponing receiving the offers for five consecutive times (the first time on June 6, the second on June 20, the third on June 27, the fourth on 11 July, and the fifth on July 19), is due to Beirut Municipality’s interest in withdrawing from the tender, which is managed by the “CDR”, and its intention to launch a separate one, which led the advisor Rafiq Khoury to change the conditions books and remove the cleaning service from it, and change the space containing it, along with a series of administrative and technical conditions, in particular, ensuring a land to be used for collection and transport in the service regions of (Kesserwan and Metn), especially that the property near the civil defense building in Beirut, that is currently used by “Sukleen” company, belongs to the Municipality of Beirut, which is expected to request using it in the independent bid, which it will launch.

It was revealed in the session of the receipt of tenders, which was chaired by the Chairman of the jury Youssef Karam, and attended by representatives of the presenting companies, that 8 companies applied to the biddings; three companies in Metn and Kesserwan and five companies in Baabda, and Chouf, Aley.

 

 

 The Bidder’s Identity

The main highlight in today’s tender, is “Sukleen’s” return to the tenders after staying away from all the previous ones that have taken place since the Cabinet adopted in late 2014, a new waste plan, and its decision to outsource the waste management sector in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, except for the district of Jbeil, through central tenders managed by the “CDR”.

Since the tender’s conditions require that the bidder applies to one service-area out of two, “Sukleen” chose to apply to a tender in the second zone (Baabda, Aley and Chouf), where there is fierce competition with four coalitions for the following Lebanese and foreign companies: A coalition that includes “Consolidated Engineering and Trading” (CET), ( owned by Gabriel and Michel Choueiri), with the Bulgarian company “Nelson”, The coalition of Hammoud company for Trading (owned by Kassem Hammoud) with the Venezuelan company “Asaaas”, the coalition of Mouawad and Edde company with the Bulgarian company “Soriko”, and the coalition of “The South company for Construction” (owned by Riad al-Asaad) with the Saudi company Alwan.

In the first service-region (Kesserwan and Metn), three coalitions of the following Lebanese and foreign companies compete: The coalition of “Ramco” Trading and Contracting (owned by Mohammed Ammash) with the Turkish company “Atlas Yapı San”, the Coalition of “Khoury Contracting Company” (owned by Danny Khoury) with the Chinese company “Dangyuan Jay Bo”, and the Lebanese company “Lavagette” (owned by Antoine Azour).

The Tendering committee will hold a meeting to resolve the companies’ financial offers, in a session that will be determined later on. It is expected to take place early next week, after studying the administrative and technical files, and ensuring their conformity to the tender book.

 

 

Technical Notes

Several companies that have applied to the tender, mentioned technical notes, and “greenarea.me” website contacted them. The companies which preferred to stay anonymous told us the first observation has to do with the book of conditions, which includes an article that defines the specifications of the trucks carrying the wastes, which are supposed to take into account modern European specifications linked to ensuring the emission of less emissions. They mentioned that “they need a special type of diesel that is not available in the Lebanese market, which would increase the cost”.

 

Bidders raise serious questions regarding the extent of “CDR”’s adherence to this condition, and whether it would impose it on all the contractors, in particular, those that own old fleets operating in various Lebanese regions. The second observation is related to the containers; if a certain company wins the collection tender, it would receive the containers that are currently on the streets (1100 containers, which need rehabilitation, and maintenance. Their “Logos” also need to be removed, to put new ones instead, which will increase the cost comparison between one company and another.

Contractors are also worried about the way that municipalities will manage the cleaning operations, and its impacts on the collection operations, and the fate of the large wastes and other materials resulting from construction works, and ensuring that they are not placed in the containers.

On the other hand, the tender did not include any specifications regarding the method of collection, based on source sorting, but collecting will take place according to the traditional way (compressing all the wastes in one container), which undermines all previous attempts related to devoting source sorting initiatives. This also disrupts any opportunity for proper treatment of organic wastes after they are mixed with solid wastes and effluents, especially oils, paint, and other materials that are classified as toxic, and which prevent the fermentation of wastes and getting fermented materials, permitted for use for agricultural purposes.

 

 

Main Alliances

A quick tour on the alliances, which included Lebanese and foreign companies, lead to a series of conclusions and observations. It is clear that jihad Contracting Company (owned by Jihad al-Arab), which presented itself as a competitor against companies that are responsible for the waste sector, in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, or in other Lebanese regions, has settled until the moment by winning a contract for establishing a sanitary landfill at the mouth of the Al-Ghadeer river Choueifat (Costa Brava landfill), and it did not yet apply to the collection and transport tenders, but that does not mean that the company has fully pulled out from the collecting and transporting contracts, especially that there is still the Beirut tender. Therefore, we should wait until this tender is launched, to see whether Jihad Arab will enter Beirut through the municipal gate after the Central Tenders’ gate was closed for him. Also, nothing prevents Arab from applying to the central treatment tender, which includes Beirut, and the various districts of Mount Lebanon, except Jbeil, and its results are to be announced on 25 July of this month.

The second observation related to Jihad Arab concerning the Bulgarian company Soriko, which applied to the collection and transport tender in Kesserwan and Metn with Mouawad Edde company. Arab was also present in the tenders that were cancelled in 2015; he was a strategic partner of the Bulgarian company which does not have representative offices in Lebanon, so Arab is still linked with trade relations with this company, and therefore Mouawad and Edde company with the Bulgarian company Soriko, is just a “camouflage” of a contracting relationship, while the real, hidden one is with “Jihad Contracting” company in case the tender was won.

Regarding the coalition of CET (owned by Gabriel and Michel Choueiri), with the Bulgarian company “Nelson”, it is observed that CET company has learned a lesson from the public tender in 2015, when it made an alliance with the Romanian company “Vetalia” within the tenders of Chouf, Aley, and part of Baabda. It failed in the technical presentation, and therefore its offer did not open the financial presentation, and this failure formed an embarrassment for the company, especially that it presents itself as being one of the biggest construction companies in Lebanon, so this time the company has hired the Bulgarian company “Nelson”, perhaps it wins the tender.

The coalition of the South company (owned by Riad al-Asaad), hinted that it was “worried” about entering into the waste sector. It returned to the tenders, and this time with a Saudi partner. Previously, it has been with coalitions that included a Spanish company, and later Egyptian, Austrian, and Moroccan companies. So, is its entry just to confirm that its existence in this competition, or is it considered a serious competitor? The most important question: Did it apply with low prices, that will oblige the competitors to apply with even lower prices?

“Khoury Contracting Company” (owned by Danny Khoury) is a strong player in the waste tenders, and it entered the sector after winning a tender to set up the Bourj Hammoud landfill. Technically, it has hired a Lebanese company owned by Rania Abu Musleh, which manages the sorting and treatment center for the Union of Chouf municipalities, in order to search for a foreign partner that will be ready to enter the bidding, and has expertise in the sector, so the company chose the Chinese company “Dangyuan Jay Bo”.

According to “Greenarea.me”’s information, Khoury has expanded its alliances with several Chinese companies, and it is preparing to enter into the “waste to energy” bidding, whether in Beirut or at the central level, and that is to be done through a coalition of Chinese companies that have expertise in the thermal dissociation technique (incinerators).

Thus, the company, whose name is mentioned on several political platforms, has decided to expand its business from land and sea reclamation, to the household solid waste management sector, and we could say that its features are supposed to take shape more clearly in the coming months, or they will witness a new collapse due to political interference, especially regarding the Beirut tender, and what is being planned for this tender, and the impact of this on the Central tender.

“greenarea.me” was informed that the Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq insists on the need to give all the property and facilities in Karantina that belong to the Municipality of Beirut, and which are currently being used by the ” CDR”, which means that the treatment tender, which is mostly related to operating the Karantina plant for sorting, is threatened in three ways: cancellation, amendment, or delay.

This could prolong the crisis, and accelerate the explosion of the “suicide option”, regarding storage in Bourj Hammoud and Costa Brava, without setting a clear vision for the method that this sector will be managed, and the deadlines for the completion of works related to ensuring that wastes do not return to the streets.

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