The UK Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s (IPA) Project Development Routemap (PDR) is a structured and tested best practice methodology used to set up projects for success, and a key component of the Global Infrastructure Programme (GIP). The UK has demonstrated that a major building block to creating a sustainable infrastructure model is rooted in early stage project planning. The PDR provides a framework to help identify and address many common issues related to project preparation.
To support the Government of Colombia in a sustainable adoption of the GIP methodologies, IPA began a pilot application of the PDR methodology on the La Dorada – Chiriguaná Rail Corridor Project in September 2019. This was critical to understanding how the PDR can be specifically adapted for use in Colombia.
The project – part of a wider national programme to develop three rail corridors in Colombia – is to procure the concession for the railway line between La Dorada and Chiriguaná. This will join the existing northern line, to form one continuous rail link for freight. The project involves the upgrade of more than 700 km of arterial route to provide more efficient, reliable and greener freight transportation between agricultural and industrial production hubs in the centre of the country and ports on the Caribbean coast. Technical, financial and legal feasibility studies were nearing completion, with the intention to run the procurement as a PPP project.
The pilot exercise comprised a short and focused application of the PDR to maximise the learning for the GIP, while providing value to the project and future projects where possible.
The objectives of the pilot exercise were:
- to further understand when the PDR process could be applied in Colombia and how it should align with the overall government processes;
- to further understand how the PDR can support the Colombian Government in the preparation of infrastructure projects;
- to gain a better appreciation of the degree of socialisation and training required to support applications of the PDR;
- to support the project team to identify key areas for capability development; and
- to provide benefits to the Colombian Government, through an increased understanding of the capabilities and activities needed to successfully initiate similar projects in the future.
The pilot team combined UK and Colombian expertise from IPA, Crossrail International, Network Rail, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in Bogota, and Steer, Colombia.
Crossrail International provided expert advisory services for rail freight operational strategies, working with the project team and key stakeholders that included:
- Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI)
- Ministerio de Transporte (MoT)
- Financiera de Desarrollo Nacional (FDN)
- Departamento Nacional de Planacion (DNP)
- Instituto Nacional de Vías (INVIAS)
- Cámara Colombiana de la Infraestructura (CCI)
Together, the group developed recommendations and an action plan to address deliverability and capability gaps in project development that had been identified in the first stage of the Pilot. It demonstrated the value of the methodology as an approach for strengthening project preparation in Colombia – through increased clarity of the strategic risk to the project and the required institutional capability development.