Business / Industries

Full steam ahead for China's global rail projects

By Zhong Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-01-19 07:45

Full steam ahead for China's global rail projects

A train pulls into a station in Luoyang city, Henan province, June 30, 2015. [Photo / IC]

Work starts on landmark project in Indonesia with more planned elsewhere including the US and Malaysia

China Railway International Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Railway Corp Group, and a consortium of Indonesian state-owned companies, will start constructing a $5.5 billion high-speed railway line from Jakarta to Bandung on Thursday.

The construction of Indonesia's first high-speed railway currently is awaiting the approval of its detailed engineering design and environmental impact analysis.

China Railway Corp, the country's railway operator, said it will accelerate the pace of building both high-speed and regular railways in countries including Indonesia, Russia, the United States and Malaysia to compete with rivals from Japan, Germany and France.

Sheng Guangzu, general manager of CRC, said the company will deploy more resources and manpower to construct big-ticket international projects such as the China-Laos railway, the China-Thailand railway, the Hungary-Serbia railway and a light rail project in Pakistan.

"CRC will quicken the pace of promoting its railway standards abroad, cooperation of trans-shipment rail cargo and multi-model transportation services to develop international logistics markets, especially in markets along the Belt and Road Initiative," said Sheng.

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.

"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," said Zhao Jian, a professor of urban planning at Beijing Jiaotong University.

Zhao said because of lower costs, these countries are keen to acquire infrastructure construction and technological support from China for daily operations, maintenance, training and other related services.

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

CRC and China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the country's biggest trainmaker, is also preparing to build infrastructure facilities and export bullet trains for a high-speed rail project in Russia connecting Moscow and 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.

China exported railway equipment worth $4.36 billion in 2014, up 22.6 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In addition, 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 this year, and the estimated investment for the project is $12.7 billion.

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

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