Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Siemens committed to bundle deal in Thailand

MASS-TRANSIT EXPANSION
Published on May 28, 2009 

Siemens Thailand yesterday clearly expressed its commitment to procuring rolling stock for several planned mass-transit lines as a bundle, possibly supplied by a carriage-assembly plant it proposed to locate here.

"We're a service provider, but depending on the government's requirements," new president and CEO Anthony Chay said.

"It's too early to say on how to set [it] up," he said, referring to the size and cost of the plant.

The concept was proposed to the government led by Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu at the second meeting of the German-Thai Joint Economic Committee in Berlin early this month.

Siemens also said know-how and technology would be transferred to the plant.

Chay said the possible size should be for at least 100 coaches. Siemens will source materials here, in order to provide local content to the plant if possible.

He said Korbsak agreed at the meeting that the concept was interesting, but needed to be considered in greater detail.

Besides procuring rolling stock as a whole, Siemens also suggested that use of the existing Mass Rapid Transit Authority depot, where assembly operations would be located, should be at zero cost and come with Board of Investment privileges, according to its paper presented at the meeting.

Setting up the train-assembly plant is one of three main issues Chay raised yesterday.

The other two are a plan to launch a master's-degree course in rail-transport engineering and an intention to support Bangkok as a world-class mass-transit-oriented city in the 21st century. Siemens is a market leader in Thailand's rolling stock and electrical-engineering supplies for railway transportation systems. It has been active in the market here for 15 years.

It is the main supplier for the Skytrain and the subway, as well as the Airport Rail Link, which will connect inner Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi Airport and is scheduled to begin trial runs on August 12.

Besides the upcoming tender for the Purple Line, linking Bang Yai to Bang Sue, the government, led by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, recently announced plans to construct 10 more mass-transit lines.

The new routes are expected to cost more than Bt500 billion.

As a package, Siemens also proposed a master's-degree course in rail-transport engineering at the Sirindhorn International Thai-German Graduate School of Engineering, which was formed seven years ago by an alliance of four German and Thai educational institutions.

"This is a long-term commitment to contribute our knowledge and technology here in Thailand," Chay said.

The alliance has prepared for the course and is now ready to kick it off, he said.

Since 1995, Siemens Thailand has employed and trained some 600 local staff and is keen to further increase local knowledge transfer.

"We want to play a major role in this country," Chay said.

The company also wants to help the government develop Bangkok into a world-class mass-transit-oriented metropolis by 2050.

On February 1, Chay became the first Asian to take over the leadership of Siemens Thailand, with additional responsibility for Burma and Cambodia.

Siemens Thailand is a leading electrical and engineering firm, with energy, industrial and healthcare operations.

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