Still about *that* train tender in Portugal

National media is starting to pick the story up and I was interviewed yesterday for this piece (Portuguese only). Most of our conversation was about the topics I covered before in last week's blogpost but there is another extra bit of information that came to my attention in the meanwhile.

In the post I mentioned a statement by the current Minister from March 2023 where he claimed that in the best case scenario, Portugal would get a better train factory, and in the worst case scenario, a worse one.

Well, turns out the jury decided otherwise. In its assessment, it awarded the three offers the maximum grade possible for the local manufacturing criterion. To me, this is a sign of two things.

First, the jury is worried about this particular criterion and potential judicial reviews. To minimise the risk they simply decided to give top marks to everyone. Honestly, I would have done the same if pressing the reset button was not an option.

Second, the contract is being awarded by CP, that is, the publicly owned train company and not the Ministry. Therefore, from the perspective of the company it is irrelevant where the trains are actually manufactured. What they want is trains that meet the specifications and for the best price possible. They have no interest in determining where the manufacture occurs.

This, plus the statements of both the current and previous Minister for transport shows us the likely origin for the criterion.