Translation provided by JIGGSLAW®. The arbitral tribunal decided in favour of Invías in the Pumarejo Bridge arbitration between the SES Puente Magdalena consortium and the Colombian Highways National Institute (known as Invías in Spanish). The tribunal dismissed SES Puente Magdalena Consortium’s claims for $135.203 million (nearly 30 million euros) concerning the execution of the contract “Construction of highway infrastructure work for the integral solution of the crossing of the Magdalena River in the route between Barranquilla and Santamarta.” Sacyr controls the majority of the SES Puente Magdalena Consortium.

The SES Consortium claimed the cost overruns from Invías for the construction of the Pumarejo Bridge, which is more than three kilometres long and is built over the Magdalena Bridge at the height of Barranquilla and Sitionuevo.

Companies claimed costs “associated with its prolonged presence on site, prolonged use of equipment due to a prolonged presence on site, implementation of additional equipment due to a prolonged presence on site, higher manpower costs as a result of a prolonged presence on site, as well as unpaid executed work,” according to an Invías press release.

In its award, the tribunal, composed of Mauricio González, Anne Mürrle, and Ricardo Hoyos, stated that ” the damages requested by the SES Puente Magdalena Consortium are not proven, and as a result, no compensation from the institute to the consortium is granted. There was also no request for payment of costs.”

The conflict

Sacyr initiated a new arbitration against Invías for the Pumarejo Bridge construction project in April 2021. Sacyr, a Spanish construction company, withdrew its first arbitration request in October 2020, although it stated its intention to file another arbitration request to obtain a new tribunal.

In a press release announcing the withdrawal of the arbitration request, Sacyr stated, “We have no doubt that the impartiality and independence of the arbitrators that would have composed the tribunal, which is still not in place, and to clarify any ungrounded doubt that may exist regarding the arbitrators who will compose the tribunal that will resolve the controversy between SES Consortium and INVIAS regarding the Pumarejo Bridge, we have decided to withdraw the request (rather than desist) and resubmit it to have a new panel of arbitrators in a calm, confident, and ensuring environment for both parties.”

Claimants claimed the cost overruns in the project required them to comply with the regulations (the project was based on studies and designs dated 2011) due to changes brought about by Colombia in the bridge technical construction regulation in 2015.

The proposal of more than 600.000 million Colombian pesos that won the tendering work would have cost about 800.00 million Colombian pesos at the end.

Alberto Pumarejo Bridge was inaugurated at the end of December 2019.

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