China State Council: To Boost City Subway, Light Rail Investments

BEIJING--China will move to increase investment in subways and light rail networks as part of efforts to boost city infrastructure investment, the State Council said Wednesday.


No further details on the investments were provided in the statement, which was published after a weekly State Council meeting chaired by President Li Keqiang.


The State Council also said in the statement that China will complete construction of an 80,000-kilometer gas pipeline and renovation work on a 100,000-kilometer piped heating network in the northern part of the country as of 2015.


More investment from private companies will be allowed in public facilities as a way to improve city infrastructure, the State Council said in the statement.






China's first inter-city express train starts test runs

China's first inter-city express train started its daily test runs on Thursday in the southwestern province of Sichuan before it is put to use in Guangdong Province, its manufacturer said.


The CRH6A train will have a daily 2,000-km test run on the rails from Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan, to Dujiangyan City and Dazhou City, respectively, according to Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co., Ltd under China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock (CSR). Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. is based in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province.


The operation assessment period takes about six months and the train will run a total of 300,000 km. Passengers will be on the train in the final phase of testing.


The express train is designed to travel at 200 km per hour. Another model, the CRH6F, with a designed speed of 160 km per hour, has also been completed and will start trial runs soon.


The intercity express trains target medium- and short-distance trips between cities. Compared with high-speed bullet trains, the intercity express trains, like subway trains, can stop at many stations and start and stop at fast speeds.


The CRH6A train has a maximum capacity of 1,488 passengers. It will be first put into use on the rail linking the cities of Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen in Guangdong.







TUV SUD sees business in China as strong growth motivator

TUV SUD headquarters office in Germany will continue to invest in China's rail business and bring the world's leading certificating technology into the China market. Provided to China Daily company pushes for safety and efficiency during development.


TUV SUD, a global leading inspection, testing and certification service company, is working to support safety and efficiency during its facilitation of China's rail development.


"TUV SUD is committed to ensure safe, reliable and efficient transportation and mobility for the industry. Over the last five years, we have acquired five rail service companies," said Dirk von Wahl, president and CEO of TUV SUD, during an interview with China Daily at the 2013 Metro Safety Summit in Nanjing.


During the summit, Luo Qun, vice mayor of Nanjing municipal government, said, "We hope that TUV SUD will bring their cutting-edge rail safety philosophies and practices to Nanjing and contribute to the healthy growth of the industry moving forward."


TUV SUD also concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Southwest Jiaotong University, a prestigious institute in the field, to promote the safety and development of urban rail transit through close cooperation with companies, universities and institutions.


"Through this event, we aim to improve safety awareness in Chinese rail transit and effectively reduce operating risks," von Wahl said. "TUV SUD has consistently invested in our rail business in China, especially satisfying the high demand for testing services within the scope of metro projects in rapidly growing cities, including Nanjing."


Von Wahl said that TUV SUD established the Changzhou Jinbiao Rail Transit Technology Service Co Ltd as a joint venture in 2011. The company is the only CNAS certified professional lab in Jiangsu that specializes in flammability testing of urban rail transit non-metallic material. With rich experience in rail transit safety, TUV SUD is also devoted to providing world class rail safety certification and solutions for China's manufacturers, operators and railway authorities. With the support of TUV SUD, Shanghai Railway Communication Factory received its first IRIS certification in 2012. In May 2013, TUV SUD was given the "RT Top 50" award at the 2013 Rail Transit Global Forum.


A growing business


One of the company's focuses is in the rail business. TUV SUD provides services in the automobile, food, textile, and consumer goods industry, all of which contribute to the company's development.


With specialists who are dedicated, responsible, and have a wide range of industry expertise, TUV SUD develops one-stop solutions that optimize technology and systems, while focusing on the entire value-added chain.


As a leading technical provider, TUV SUD brings together people, technology and the environment, with a long-term perspective, in a value-adding and sustainable manner. "Values and Responsibility" is the core service philosophy of TUV SUD, which is also the standard that shaped the company's work since it was founded almost 150 years ago.


According to the 2012 annual report, the company saw significant growth in 2012, reaching record levels in revenue, earnings and headcount. During the fiscal year 2012, the technical services company increased its revenue by almost 9 percent to 1.82 billion euros ($2.43 billion) compared to the 1.68 billion euros earned in 2011. The number of people working for the company worldwide also grew to almost 19,000, an increase of 1,600.


"Take China, for example, it is found that the extent of the Chinese awareness of companies' safety practices has increased significantly since five years ago," von Wahl said. "Accordingly, the demand for safety testing and related technical solutions tends to grow to meet more and more complicated standards and requirements, which make them less sensitive to the challenging economic environment."


"It is worth noting that international business continues to be our growth motivator, and we are turning into a global player at an increasing rate. In 2012, our revenue generated from abroad grew by 106 million euros, almost three times the increase in revenue in Germany," said von Wahl, noting that TUV SUD generated 38 percent of its revenue outside of Germany, an increase of 3 percent from the previous year.


TUV SUD has 800 locations around the world and is constantly expanding its international presence in order to remain close to their customers. The company is also laying its foundation to continue profitable growth, aiming to be both a reliable and strong partner.


Going global


TUV SUD achieved further growth, particularly in India and China. China is TUV SUD's second largest market next to Germany, making China the largest overseas market.


The company began its business in China in the early 90s when the country began the development of foreign trade and export industries.


To date, TUV SUD established more than 40 satellite offices across the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with around 2,100 employees, 70 percent of which are dedicated engineers.


TUV SUD has partnered with 20,000 companies in China and has experienced rapid revenue growth over several years. In addition, TUV SUD constantly pays attention to the industry development trends and pledges to offer cutting-edge technical support at the same pace as the Chinese clients' developments.


To further strengthen the competitive advantage in China, TUV SUD will continue to invest in hardware and meet customer's demands for development.


TUV SUD in Shanghai set up a large testing center last year with an integrated testing capability for customers to reduce testing costs, and efficiently implemented a one-stop service at the same time.


TUV SUD also has many different training mechanisms, allowing employees to ensure their continued market competitiveness and to gain the latest international technical knowledge.


Because China is considered the strategic center of business development, TUV SUD is always looking for ways to incorporate Germany's leading technology into the China market.


"The common practice is to engage engineers from Germany in the local business to combine European leading technology with the strategy of localization. By this means, we bring both the world's leading certificating technology and European's advanced concepts into the China market, which forms a technology transferring process of expansion and continuity," he said.


TUV SUD plans to focus on its development in the Chinese market by selecting those with professional backgrounds in the industry and offering training to help them understand European certificating technology and methodologies, continuously strengthening their professional skills, and ultimately ensuring quality and safety. In this sense, the certifications awarded by TUV SUD in China and in foreign markets have the equivalent effect and standard.


New energy


China is experiencing rapid economic development and faces more energy pressures in comparison to the United States and Europe.


The Chinese government and enterprises are working together to balance economic growth with energy efficiency and sustainability.


In recent years, the Chinese government has made it a priority to introduce policies that support green initiatives.


"As China is changing the developing mode of industry, quickly reacting to the changing market demands is also one of the main reasons for our strategic changes," von Wahl said.


"In recent years, TUV SUD has worked incredibly hard on the development of electric vehicles, new energy and energy efficiency management, and we are supporting the green energy industry in China."


In the field of electric automobiles, von Wahl said, "TUV SUD is based in southern Germany, a hub of premium automotive manufacturers. In Germany alone, we predict that there will be over 1 million electric or hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020, while there will be at least 10 million of such vehicles worldwide. TUV SUD has been actively involved in the safe development of electro-mobility and has been a pioneer partner in many important developments."





China to fully open railway construction market

Upcoming reforms will completely open China's railway construction market, according to a statement released Wednesday after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Premier Li Keqiang.


Reforms concerning investment and financing in the sector will be sped up, covering the areas of planning, multi-channel investment, market-based operations and policy coordination, the statement said.


A railway development fund will be established using government investment and social capital, the statement said, adding that local regions and social capital will have ownership and management rights for inter-city railway links and municipal rail links.


Multiple reforms are being made in the sector following the separation of the Ministry of Railways in March into administrative and commercial arms, a move that was made to reduce bureaucracy and improve efficiency.


Government investment and the railway system's financing have long been the primary sources of capital for railway construction. However, these limited channels have become increasingly unable to meet demand for capital.


Analysts said the sector should diversify and attract more social capital for construction projects by breaking up monopolies and investment barriers.


According to the statement, the government will prioritize railway construction in central and west China, as well as poor parts of the country, in order to boost urbanization and coordinated development between regions.


The government also plans to make efficient use of land resources in building new railways. During the 2011-2015 period, major railway construction projects will be initiated in a timely way and progress according to plan, the statement said.





Huge Saudi metro projects aim to shift economy beyond oil

A US$22.5 billion plan to build Riyadh’s first metro rail system aims to achieve more than improving the quality of life in the congested Saudi capital: it is part of an ambitious effort to shift the country’s economy beyond oil.


The government awarded contracts for the system to three foreign-led consortia on Sunday. Six rail lines carrying electric, driverless trains and extending 176 kilometres (110 miles) are to be completed by 2019.


Similar projects are underway in other top Saudi cities; last August the government approved a US$16.5 billion plan to modernise the transport system in Mecca, including construction of a metro, and Jeddah is preparing plans to build a metro that would cost around US$9.3 billion.


The projects are part of an effort to improve social welfare for millions of poorer Saudis in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in the region. Saudi Arabia escaped serious unrest, but it aims to ensure social peace by ramping up spending on hospitals, schools and other infrastructure.


In the longer term, the world’s top oil exporter is trying to diversify its economy away from oil, to reduce its vulnerability to the next big drop in global energy prices.


The metro systems could aid that drive by changing the way Saudi cities operate, helping them develop easily accessible commercial and light industrial districts which house companies outside the oil sector, while stimulating real estate projects and other investment along the rail lines.


“I think the metro will transform Riyadh. With 170 km of rail, people will always be close to the metro. It’ll not just solve the traffic problem but also connect the financial hub, airport, malls and other parts of the city,” said Miguel Jurado, head of Spanish firm FCC Construction, which will help to build the project.


Ibrahim al-Sultan, head of the government body which supervises the project, estimated that each riyal spent on it would generate an indirect economic return of 3 riyals.


Concern about the country’s extreme dependence on oil was underlined this week when Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, in an open letter to the government, called for immediate steps to diversify the economy.


The metro systems may also help Saudi Arabia manage its oil resources more efficiently; only about 2 per cent of Riyadh’s 6 million population currently use public transport, leaving most of the rest dependent on petrol-guzzling cars.


Growth in domestic oil consumption, as the country’s young population expands, has been outpacing rises in oil production capacity. So over the next decade or two, Saudi Arabia could be forced to cut back its oil exports; the metro systems buy it time before it faces such a crunch.


“The metro will drive down energy requirements for the transport sector, if the metro is incentivised by the government as a replacement to motor vehicles, and reduce environmental pollution,” said John Sfakianakis, chief strategist at investment firm MASIC.


The Riyadh metro is projected to carry 1.16 million passengers daily when launched, increasing to nearly 3.6 million within 10 years - a significant fraction of all trips in the country, which currently has a population of about 28 million.


Saudi Arabia now consumes about 500,000 barrels per day of oil in the form of petrol, and exports under 8 million bpd.


While the metros are unlikely to persuade some Saudis to abandon their love for the automobile, others may welcome the chance to escape severe traffic congestion in the big cities.


Despite the country’s oil wealth, analysts estimate millions of people live near the poverty line, and they will have a financial incentive to use the systems.


The metros may also have a social impact by making it easier for women to move around, in a country where they are not allowed to drive for religious reasons. The Riyadh metro carriages will have special “family sections” giving women privacy.


“For sure I will use the metro - it will be a major solution for the women problem in our society, since we don’t drive,” said Alaa Hassan, a female university student in Riyadh.


“I go to my university by minibus and I pay 2,000 riyals ($535) per month; other classmates who live nearer pay 800 to 1,000. For sure the metro will be cheaper.”


The government has not said exactly how it will fund the Riyadh metro project, although bankers have been speculating about possible issues of sukuk (Islamic bonds) which could help to deepen the country’s market in state-backed debt.


After more than two years of high oil prices, financing is not expected to be a problem; the government’s budget surplus last year alone was 386.5 billion riyals (HK$799 billion).


But assembling the labour force to complete the project on time may be a challenge, because the country has been tightening controls on its large population of foreign workers in an effort to reduce unemployment among Saudi citizens.


A crackdown on illegal foreign workers caused tens of thousands of people to be deported or decide to leave the country this year. Fees designed to encourage companies to limit their use of foreigners, who are cheaper to hire than Saudis, have hurt profits at some Saudi construction firms.


“The workforce will be a challenge...We will need about 15,000 people during the whole period of work,” FCC’s Jurado said. “We have a period of eight to ten months to arrange for all these workers.”






China invests in Ring road, Mono Rail & Metro projects in Punjab

Pakistan Muslim League N (PML-N) Punjab’s government has inked another Memorandum of Understanding with Chinese firm.


According to TheNewsTribe’s correspondent from Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore, the MoU regarding construction of Western Loop of the Ring Road Lahore was signed between Punjab government and international Chinese company, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.


Chairman Ring Road Authority and Director Overseas Corporation of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation signed the document. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Provincial Minister for Housing, Chief Secretary, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Communication & Works, Director General LDA, Chairman Ring Road Authority and concerned officers were present. Under the agreement, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation will take part in the bidding process of construction of 26-kilometer long portion of Ring Road from Multan Road Maraka to Niazi Interchange which has been named as Western Loop.


Besides, provision of experts, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation will also plan and designed the project.


Addressing the signing ceremony of the MoU, Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said that there is vast scope of investment in energy, infrastructure and other sectors in Pakistan especially Punjab.


He said that provincial government is providing special incentives and facilities to foreign investors for investment in the province.


Shahbaz Sharif has that the goal of strengthening of national economy cannot be achieved without development of infrastructure.


“Punjab government has allocated a huge amount for communication and works sector under annual development programme.”


CM Punjab said that Lahore Ring Road will be completed under a phased programme in accordance with international standard and in the next phase, the Western Loop from Multan Road Maraka to Niazi Interchange will be constructed.


The Chief Minister said that the cooperation of Chinese investors in various sectors in Pakistan is highly appreciable.


Speaking on the occasion, the officials and experts of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation observed that China and Pakistan are bound together in strong bonds of friendship.


They also expressed their interest in investment in ring road project, mono rail and metro project in Punjab.


They expressed their satisfaction that a favourable investment climate exists in Punjab.




Singapore develops electrification monitoring system


SINGAPORE's National Research Foundation has awarded a $C 250,000 ($US 197,000) grant to a research project which is developing new real-time asset monitoring technology for third-rail electrification systems.


The project is being led by Dr See Kye Yak, associate professor at Singapore Nanyang Technological University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.


Most existing electrification inspection systems are based on ultrasonic, pulsed eddy current, and machine vision technologies, which require sensors and instruments installed on a dedicated inspection vehicle. However, the technology under development in Singapore uses radio frequency inductive coupling, meaning there is no direct electrical connection to the high-voltage electrification system and making it safe to use without affecting the normal operation of the train.


This means the system can be installed on standard vehicles, allowing it be used on passenger trains and enabling real-time monitoring of electrification assets, with the infrastructure being inspected every few minutes by a passing train.


Manila LRT-1 extension bids expected next month

THE Philippines' transport secretary Mr Joseph Emilio Abaya has told the domestic media that after three postponements, the four consortia which have prequalified for the contract to extend Line LRT-1 to Bacoor in Cavite will finally submit their bids on August 15.


The $US 720m contract to carry out civil works on the 11.7km eight-station southern extension from the existing terminus Baclaran was originally due to be awarded last year, but suffered repeated delays at both the prequalification and tendering stages.


The four groups which prequalified for the tender are:


•Light Rail Manila Consortium (Metro Pacific Investments and Ayala, Philippines)


•MTD-Samsung Group (MTD Capital and Samsung C&T)


•San Miguel Infrastructure Resources, GS Engineering and Construction, and Posco


•DMCI Holdings (Marubeni and Sistema de Tansporte Collectivo Metro).







Winning bidders announced for $US 21bn Riyadh metro project

ARRIYADH Development Authority (ADA) announced the winning bidders on July 28 for three design and build contracts worth almost $US 21bn for the construction of a 176.7km six-line automated metro network in the Saudi capital Riyadh.


The Fast consortium, which is led by Spanish construction group FCC, will build three lines totalling 73km in a deal worth $US 7.82bn. The contract includes:


- The 30km Orange Line to King Khaled International Airport


- The 13km Yellow Line, which will follow King Abdul Aziz Road, and


- The 30km Purple Line from from Abdul Rahman bin Ouf Street to Shaikh bin Hussain bin Ali Street.


The contract includes the construction of 29.8km of viaduct and 26.6km of tunnels. Fast will use three 10m-diameter TBMs to construct the underground sections.


FCC's partners in Fast include Alstom; Samsung C&T; Strukton, Netherlands; Freyssinet, Saudi Arabia; Typsa, Spain; and Setec, France. Alstom's share of the contract is worth around $US 1.6bn and includes a fleet of 69 Metropolis trains, together with Communications Based Train Control (CBTC), Hesop energy recovery system, and its Appitrack tracklaying system. The 36m-long two-car trains will be 2.71m wide with first class, family class, and single accommodation.


The Arriyadh New Mobility Group (ANM) will construct the 40.7km Red Line from Madina Al Munawara to Amir Saad bin Abdul Rahman Al Awad Road in a contract worth $US 5.21bn. ANM is led by Ansaldo STS and includes civil works contractors Salini-Impreglio, Larsen & Toubro, and Nemsa, together with Bombardier, which will supply a fleet of 47 two-car trains.


Ansaldo STS' share is worth $US 680m and covers automatic train control (ATC), CBTC, power supplies including third-rail electrification, the operational control centre, telecommunications, and fitting out depots. The contract includes an option for 10 years' maintenance.


Finally, the Bechtel-led BACS consortium will build the 39km Blue Line from Olaya Street to Batha Street and Al Hayer Road, and the 25km Green Line along King Abdullah Road. The consortium includes Aecom and Siemens, and the contract has a total value of $US 7.82bn.


According to FCC, the construction of the network will require 600,000 tonnes of steel, 4.3 million cubic metres of concrete, and will employ more than 30,000 people, more than half of them in the Fast consortium. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of next year and commercial services will start on the initial operating sections in 2018 with the entire 176km network due to be commissioned by 2019.


The ADA says it is creating a world-class public transport project in response to the rapid growth of Riyadh, which will need to accommodate a 40% increase in its population from 5.7 million to 8.3 million and a 60% rise in travel demand by 2030. At present only around 2% of trips in the city are by public transport.


Tendering for the network began in July 2012 and no less than 37 consortia submitted expressions of interest.







KL - Singapore HS tenders expected next year

THE CEO of Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission (Spad), Mr Mohd Nur Kamal, says he expects tenders to be invited for a high-speed line to link Kuala Lumpur with Singapore by the end of next year. The prime minister of Malaysia Mr Najib Tun Razak and his Singaporean counterpart Mr Lee Hsien Loong pledged in February to complete construction of the railway by 2020.


Technical studies are already underway for the Ringgits 40bn ($US 12.7bn) scheme which involves constructing a 330km standard-gauge from Kuala Lumpur via Seremban, and then following a route via the coastal towns of Melaka, Muar, and Batu Pahat to Johor Bahru, Malaysia's most southerly city, and Singapore.


A maximum speed in excess of 300km/h is envisaged to achieve a journey time of around 90 minutes. This would be highly competitive with air, and much quicker than using the current metre-gauge train service which operates over a 397km route and takes around 7 hours.






European bank aids Kazakh rail car leasing company

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a US $24.8m (3.8 billion KZT) loan to help Olzha, a Kazakhstani supplier of leased railway freight cars, the EBRD said in a July 30 statement.


"As freight owners increasingly favour leasing over ownership of railroad cars, demand for Olzha’s services is expected to increase significantly," the EBRD said. "This will be fuelled further by an increase in oil and gas production in Kazakhstan in the years ahead."


Railways carry 60% of all freight in Kazakhstan, it said.









Japan offers Malaysia high-speed rail technology for KL-S'pore rail link

Japan on Thursday offered Malaysia technology to build a multi-million-dollar high-speed railway and other infrastructure, as its Prime Minister Shinzo Abe began a regional tour.


Mr Abe's visit to Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines is the latest of several trips he has made with business leaders since coming to power in December, aimed at drumming up infrastructure deals.


The 58-year-old premier hopes to strengthen ties with South-east Asian countries, a region enjoying strong economic growth and a potential vibrant marketplace for Japanese products and investment.


"Malaysia and Japan agree to cooperate in high technology with Japan providing the technology in the construction of high-speed rail, water and waste treatment," Mr Abe told reporters at a press conference with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak.








Peru plans Yurimaguas – Iquitos link

THE government of Loreto, the northernmost region of Peru, is developing plans for a 576km railway to link the city of Yurimaguas with the regional capital Iquitos, which is situated on the river Amazon.


The $US 1bn line would be built through an isolated area with few roads and challenging terrain, crossing wide river flood plains which are often swamped in the summer, and skirting the perimeter of the Pacaya – Samiria National Reserve, where road construction is prohibited.


Technical studies are due to be completed this month and an environmental impact assessment is also expected to be approved in the coming weeks.


The project is expected to be tendered as a build-operate-maintain concession through Peru's private investment agency Proinversión, and companies from Canada, China, and Brazil have reportedly expressed an interest in bidding.






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