Compensation sought for airport rail delays: MOTC

LITANY OF WOES::The ministry said it would fine Marubeni Corp for missing construction deadlines and seek restitution for potential damages from the delays

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Fri, May 03, 2013 - Page 14

The government will seek compensation from Japan’s Marubeni Corp for repeatedly failing to meet deadlines for the nation’s airport rail system, Minister of Transportation and Communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said yesterday.

Yeh said he was scheduled to meet with Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) today and would announce the official launch date of the Airport Rail after the meeting.

Marubeni was the main contractor for the rail’s electromechanical systems, along with Japan’s Hitachi and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Corp. The original launch date for the rail system was June last year, but the delays in the building of the electromechanical systems caused the ministry to postpone the launch until October this year.

Earlier this year Marubeni requested another extension owing to disputes with sub-contractors.

Yeh said the firm has proposed another deadline, which the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has yet to approve.

He said that while the ministry had a legitimate right to terminate the contract with Marubeni given its record, that would be a difficult choice to make at this point.

Nevertheless, the ministry would fine Marunbeni for missing the construction deadlines, he said, adding that it would seek restitutions for the potential damages caused by those delays.

The ministry also sought to resolve the problem with Marubeni diplomatically, he said. Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chen Chien-yu (陳建宇) met with officials from Japan’s Ministry of Land, infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to discuss this issue.

“The airport rail is the transport system to the nation’s gateway, and the construction is equally important to both countries,” Yeh said. “Marubeni is a major international corporation. If it intends to [continue to] botch up construction, it would encounter major difficulties in securing contracts around the world.”

The airport rail system has encountered difficulties from the very beginning. Before construction began in 2006, the contractor in charge of the civil engineering work ran into financial problems and terminated its contract. That project was later taken over by BES Engineering Corp. In addition, three tenders for the extension line from the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport to Jhongli (中壢) have failed to attract any bidders.