Revitalisation of the rail network between Kenya and Uganda is viewed as critical to expanding intra-regional trade.
More than 90% of the cargo arriving in Mombasa that is destined for Uganda, south Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi is transported by road, which is the most expensive means, according to exporters and importers.
Kenya Railways said bids for consultancy services for design and environmental and social assessment for the section ending at the Kenyan border had been stopped after one party petitioned the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB).
No further details were given. â€œThe procuring entity has decided to extend the process up to December 2, 2010 by which time it is expected that the PPARB would have given directions on the matter,â€ acting procurement manager David Bosire said in a statement.
Kenya Railways said earlier this year that its aim was for the standard gauge railway to be operational within three years and to carry 10 times as much freight.
The latest suspension happened barely three weeks after Kenya Railways invited fresh bids for work on the new line.
The corporation had called for the new bids on October 8.
The closure date had been set for October 27 (today).
Kenya Railways cancelled a first bid when expressions of interest came in too high for its budget. It re-advertised but that bid was also cancelled by government procurement authorities when a losing bidder won an appeal.
Another rail link is planned for South Sudan to facilitate the movement of goods and people to and from Juba to the wider East African region including Mombasa, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Kenya suspends bids for new rail to Uganda