Sat, Dec 10, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Japanese group wins bidding for CKS rail project

MASS TRANSPORTATION Marubeni Corp won the contract to build the core mechanical systems for the MRT link between Taipei City and the CKS airport


A Japanese consortium led by Marubeni Corp won the contract to construct a mass rapid transportation (MRT) system that links CKS International Airport to Taipei City, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2009 and start service in 2010.

The group, which is composed of Marubeni, Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd and Hitachi Ltd, made the lowest bid for the MRT's core mechanical and electrical systems with NT$25.49 billion (US$760.7 million), Pang Jar-hua (龐家驊), a deputy director-general of the Bureau of High-Speed Rail, said yesterday.

The bid covers construction of train cars, power-supply infrastructure, traffic lights, a train-control system, communication system, central control system, platform equipment, maintenance equipment, track system and transformer plants.

Marubeni's offer is the lowest of all three bidders. German engineering and technology conglomerate Siemens AG tendered for the project with NT$27.5 billion, and Paris-based Alstom SA made a NT$36.9 billion bid, Pang said.

Marubeni is required to sign the contract by Jan. 20 next year, Pang said.

The allocation of the winning bid may not end the drawn-out disputes over the project. Before the bid was opened, Siemens filed a total of four complaints to the bureau and asked that Marubeni be eliminated from the shortlist, saying the Japanese consortium is not qualified for the project.

Marubeni cited a signal-system renewal project it completed in Pakistan in 1993 as proof of its ability to build the rail system, which the German company claims does not conform to the requirements set by the bureau.

Siemens also said that if the bureau refuses to disqualify Marubeni, the company will turn to the WTO for arbitration.

Rival tenders

* Marubeni Corp (Japan): NT$25.49 billion

* Siemens AG (Germany): NT$27.5 billion

* Alstom SA (France): NT$36.9 billion

Source: TT

Pang said the bureau overruled the complaints, as the complainant was not the same as the representative which tendered the bid.

Siemens refused to be sidelined and filed an objection to the Cabinet's Public Construction Commission last month. The commission later demanded that the bureau reply to Siemens' complaint.

"We reviewed the papers submitted by Marubeni again, and ruled that the Japanese group is qualified for the bid," Pang said.

Siemens' Taiwan office declined to comment yesterday.

The 51.5km rail system was originally designed as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project, but two private firms, Evertransit International Co (長生開發) and BES Engineering Corp (中華工程), abandoned the original BOT project in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

In June 2003, the government decided to execute the project through traditional government procurement.

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