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March 2013.-The Spanish Railway Association (MAFEX) will be visiting Thailand and Indonesia in a new direct trade mission aiming at promoting the Spanish industry in the light of new infrastructure projects in both countries. From March 20 to 27, an intense agenda of contacts and meetings will take place. The objective is to expand exports of Spanish rail products, services, and technology.
The delegation travelling with MAFEX is composed of representatives from companies of the different fields of the sector: from engineering and consulting services companies, to rolling stock and auxiliary equipment constructing companies.
Thailand’s Great Boost to Railway Sector
Thailand will be the first country to be visited. Meetings have been scheduled with with members of the State Railway of Thailand-SRT, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning-OTP, and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand-MRTA. In addition, working meetings have been arranged with representatives from Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Co., Ltd.-BTS, and Bangkok Metro Public Co., Ltd.-BMCL.
The Spanish trade mission comes at a crucial time in Thailand, with the Government launching an important infrastructure modernization plan in which railways play a major role, as reflected in the Railway Infrastructure Development Master Plan. The first phase, until 2014, will count on 4,205 million euros for the modernization of the present railway network, with 4,129km. During this phase, lines operating throughout 47 of 77 Thai provinces will be improved through civil works for the splitting of lines, deployment of signaling and telecommunication systems, rolling stock acquisition, as well as through the construction of a monorail train for container transport to the Lat Krabang port (ICD2).
The modernization of the Thai railway network also includes the construction of four new high-speed lines, linking the capital Bangkok with the cities of Chiang Mai (711 km), Nong Khai (600 km), Chanthaburi (330 km) and Padang Besar (983 km). The initial cost estimate is 19,029 million euros. In this project Thailand will be collaborating with China. A framework agreement for the construction of the two branch lines has been signed by both countries.
This can be coupled with the boost to public transport in Bangkok. To such end, the company MRTA (Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand) has launched an ambitious “management plan” with an investment of almost 20,000 million euros. After the initial development phase, until 2026, the projects for the construction of eight new lines will be implemented, as well as the extension of three already in operation.
For MAFEX, the boost given to rail transport in Thailand, both in the high-speed network and metropolitan transport, represents a great opportunity to consolidate the position of Spanish companies in the country. The Thai government’s large investments require the participation of top technological companies providing a complete range of solutions in all fields of activity: from the engineering phase to the installation of systems, network operation, and construction of the latest rolling stock. With all these characteristics, the Spanish rail sector is one of the main candidates for overtaking the new infrastructures and contributing to the full upgrade of railway connections.
At present, a large number of MAFEX Spanish company members are actively participating in Thailand: Amurrio Ferrocarril y Equipos, Ikusi-Ángel Iglesias, Manusa Door Systems, Arteche (Electrotécnica Arteche Smartgrid) and Patentes Talgo.
Indonesia Seeks Spanish Expertise in Rail Infrastructures
The Spanish delegation will get together with representatives from the State Railways Company (PT KAI), members of other sector administrations, such as the Ministry of Transportation General Directorate of Railways, as well as representatives from the train manufacturing company (PT INKA). The aim is to study in depth collaboration opportunities regarding the development of the country’s new infrastructures planned.
The Indonesian Government has approved a “Master Plan” with a budget for transport of more than 80,000 million euros (88,500 million dollars), out of which 35,500 will be aimed at railway projects. Among the most significant initiatives is the rail line in Sumatra, which will run from the coal mine in Tanjung Enim to a new port in the Sunda strait, with the objective of promoting freight transport.
The development of new rail lines is planned for the capital city, both underground and surface lines, to respond to the limited offer of collective transport. A project connecting the international Soekarno-Hatta airport and the Manggarai train station, to the south of Jakarta, is also underway.