PESA Bydgoszcz launches legal challenge over lost Warsaw tram deal

Rolling stock manufacturer PESA Bydgoszcz (PESA) has launched a legal challenge against the result of a tender to supply the country’s capital, Warsaw, with new trams.

Hyundai Rotem was selected as the preferred bidder for the contract to supply up to 213 low-floor LRVs for the tram network in the Polish capital.

The winning bid is valued at approximately 1.85 billion  zloty, and was significantly lower than that submitted by PESA. According to Business Insider Poland, PESA’s bid was over 500 million zloty higher.

In a letter addressed to the mayor of Warsaw the governor of Kujawsko-Pomorski region (in which PESA is located) Mikołaj Bogdanowicz directly called for a re-examination of both offers. He believes that PESA has more experience on the Polish market.

“I was very surprised to hear that the tender was won by a Korean company. I do not share your joy in this fact,” read the letter. Mr Bogdanowicz added that PESA has proven experience in delivering hundreds of trams to both Polish and European cities and “has the appropriate technical facilities and highly qualified staff to meet the order.”

The state-run Polish Development Fund (PFR) signed an investment agreement with PESA in 2018, acquiring a 99.8 per cent stake in the company for 300 million zloty.

Kosma Złotowski, a Law and Justice (PiS) MEP has submitted a letter to the European Commission questioning the result of the tender.

“The price offer of the Korean company seems surprisingly low, taking into account the fact that it does not have adequate production facilities in the EU to carry out such a large order. The European Parliament has asked the commission to monitor non-European rail investments in member states and to guarantee compliance with European rules on public procurement.”

Mr Złotowski has asked whether the commission intends to examine the results of this tender for unfair competition and to check whether Hyundai’s offer for Warsaw is abnormally low.

“Public procurement law does not provide for the possibility of favouring domestic producers, because the European Union is a single market. This also applies to countries with which the EU has signed agreements on equal treatment of entrepreneurs, for example with South Korea,” Wojciech Bartelski, the president of Warsaw Trams (TW) said in a statement. “The Koreans have declared that their trams will be quieter and definitely more energy-efficient.”

However, on February 18, PESA filed a challenge with the National Chamber of Appeal (KIO).

Rafał Trzaskowski, the mayor of Warsaw, said that the decision to go with the Korean offer was based on price and quality.

“If tenders are organised for such large amounts, then price wins, quality wins. The Korean offer was half a billion zloty cheaper and when it came to quality the Koreans better met the conditions of the tender.”