KUALA LUMPUR: THE UK’s engineering consultants are tendering and hopeful of clinching highly-skilled and specialised rail job packages in Malaysia.
Nearly 20 of its Railway Industry Association’s 200 members are keen to bid for niche jobs in the light rail transit and construction of the Mass Rapid Transit, East Coast Rail Link and Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail, said its exports director Neil Walker.
"We see good prospects in Malaysia for UK companies and our members in sharing rail technology and innovation.
"20 UK delegates joined our trade mission to Malaysia and are keen to bid for projects and supply in the upgrade of Light Rail Transit (LRT) and construction of Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR)," he said in an interview with NST Business here recently.
“UK engineering companies, including RIA members, can bring in innovation, such as lightweight composites and more energy efficient techniques in railway engineering. We’ve the experience in improving performance and we’re good at working in a high density environment in upgrading existing rail lines. In addition to first rate rail engineering technology we can share, we’re also bringing in skills and academic learning,” he added.
The UK has new HSR colleges and the national skills academies for railway engineering, he said, adding that the Cross Rail project, that links East and West London, has a Tunneling and Underground Construction Academy.
Also present were the UK Department for International Trade business specialist Dr Andrew Hinton, Balfour Beatty technology solutions manager Kevin Fry and SNC-Lavalin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd associate director of Southeast Asia Brian Blackwell.
Hinton said his agency had recently arranged for senior executives of MyHSR Bhd, Land Public Transport Commission and Prasarana Malaysia Bhd on a study tour to see the recently-upgraded customs, immigration, and quarantine (CIQ) complex at the St Pancras rail station in London.
“The Malaysian delegation wanted to see how the UK’s HSR Link 2 is being operated and look at what we have done at St Pancras, as the interchange for the Eurostar terminus,” he said.
St Pancras International Station is one of the biggest landmarks in London and serves as a gateway to Europe. It is used by 45 million passengers annually and is the UK's home of Eurostar.
Hinton said the seven stations of the KL-Singapore HSR in Malaysia offer great opportunities for UK engineering companies to offer their expertise. “We can look at ways to collaborate with MARIC on delivering the railway projects here.
MARIC is led by Prime Minister's Department's Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (Might).
MARIC members include Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd, MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd, Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, Scomi Engineering Bhd, Mass Rapid Transit Corp and MMC-Gamuda Bhd.
“In the area of transit oriented development, we can share our experiences in the economic multiplier effects on the community residing along the Jubilee Line. We’re seeing the benefits of Cross Rail going into the redevelopment of Canary Wharf,” Hinton said.
SNC-Lavalin’s Blackwell said his company had previously offered consulting engineering services in the construction of the LRT 2 here. With such a track record, SNC-Lavalin is well positioned to bid for job packages in the LRT 3, MRT 2 and the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).
Last week, the governments of Malaysia and Singapore called for a joint tender for an Asset Company (Asset Co) for the bilateral HSR.
Asset Co is responsible for designing, building, financing and maintaining all rolling stock such as trackwork, power, signalling and telecommunications for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR.
Additionally, Asset Co is in charge of coordinating the system's network capacity for operations and maintenance needs.
In December 2016, the governments of Malaysia and Singapore signed an agreement to build the HSR. Slated to be completed by end-2026, the 350km Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR is expected to cut travel time between the two cities to 90 minutes from the current four hours.
Blackwell said British firms are interested to support the consortia which are submitting their tenders for Asset Co in the KL-Singapore HSR.
Balfour Beatty, which had previously worked on the double tracking of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd’s project a few years ago, is looking to bid for railway construction job packages up on offer.
Balfour Beatty’s Fry said the company’s know-how to leverage on sensors, automated visual inspection in simplifying railway maintenance.
“Railway asset owners can save up to 20 per cent of their usual maintenance costs when they incorporate our system from the beginning,” Fry added.