Business / Economy

Belt and Road Initiative boosts rail tech exports

By ZHONG NAN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-10-29 09:46

The Belt and Road Initiative will boost China's exports of high-speed rail technologies and related products as a number of nations are eager to enhance their economic growth with modern transportation networks.

The initiative, proposed by China in 2013, is a trade and infrastructure network that includes the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The planned network connects Asia, Europe and Africa and passes through more than 60 countries and regions.

After selling regular passenger and subway trains, electric multiple units and freight trains to countries such as France, Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa over the past two decades, China staved off fierce competition from Japan to secure a deal for the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project in Indonesia earlier this month.

China Railway International Co Ltd, a joint subsidiary led by China Railway Corp, and a consortium of Indonesian State-owned companies will build the $5.5-billion railway line from Jakarta to Bandung, and plan to compete for other projects in the region.

Zhi Luxun, deputy director-general of the department of foreign trade at the Ministry of Commerce, said: "China will quicken the pace of promoting its railway standards abroad, especially in the markets along the new trade routes."

"Most of the countries on these trade routes, especially in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and East Europe, are planning to build new high-speed rail lines or upgrade their existing railway systems. They are keen to acquire technological support from China for daily operations, maintenance, staff training and other related services," said Zhi.

China will also support its rail equipment makers in widening their global services and production networks to compete with more established rivals in other regional markets during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20).

Zhou Zhencheng, commercial counselor at the department of outward investment and economic cooperation at the Ministry of Commerce, said: "Widening the international sales network and manufacturing bases in overseas markets can help Chinese companies improve their localization abilities, as well as gain political and public support through local employment."

China is in talks with more than 20 countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Kingdom and the United States on potential high-speed train projects.

China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the country's biggest train maker, is also preparing to export bullet trains for a high-speed rail project in Russia that would connect Moscow to Kazan. The length of the line is expected to be about 770 kilometers and will run through seven Russian regions with a total population of more than 25 million.

The nation exported railway equipment worth 26.77 billion yuan ($4.36 billion) in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 22.6 percent, according to the General Administration of Customs.

The government in September also announced that a high-speed railway project between Las Vegas and Los Angeles will be built by a joint venture formed by Chinese rail companies and XpressWest Enterprises, a US passenger rail service provider.

Construction work between Nevada and California is expected to start as early as September 2016, and the estimated investment for the project is $12.7 billion.

In addition, a Chinese consortium led by Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation was chosen to conduct the feasibility study on New Delhi-Mumbai rail project, a big step forward to the development of India's rail market.

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