Tue, Sep 23, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Taipei MRT contract goes to Kawasaki

HIGH-SPEED RAILWAY The city signed a NT$15.2 billion deal to build 321 carriages for existing and new lines with the Japanese manufacturer after fierce competition


Taipei City's Department of Rapid Transit Systems signed an agreement yesterday with Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries to build 55 electrical multiple units (EMUs) for the city's mass rapid transit (MRT) systems.

After fierce competition among major bidders, including France's Aston Martin, Germany's Siemens, Japan's Mitsubishi, Bombardier from Cananda and South Korea's Hyundai since early this year, Kawasaki won the NT$15.2 billion (US$447 million) contract to build the 55 EMUs, which will comprise a total of 321 carriages.

The EMUs must be delivered between Oct. 1, 2005 and April 1, 2009 in five shipments. The new carriages will be used on existing MRT lines as well as several new MRT lines scheduled for completion between 2008 and 2009, including the Pitan branch line, the Hsinchuang-Luchou line and the extended section of the Nankang-Panchiao line.

Lee Wen-tsai (李文才), director of the department's electrical and engineering branch, who inked the contract with Kawasaki officials on behalf of the department, denied allegations that Kawasaki won the contract by offering an "unreasonably low price."

Instead, Lee said, Kawasaki offered a "reasonable price" for the contract.

He also said that Kawasaki was awarded the contract because of other reasons, including the fact that the carriages to be used in the proposed high-speed railway system will also be provided by Kawasaki and the existing EMUs used on the MRT Tamshui line were built by Kawasaki -- factors that made the new EMUs procurement pro-ject more financially economical and technically efficient.

According to Frank Fan, a director at the department, Kawasaki-built EMUs have been operating smoothly on the Tamshui line.

Noting that Bombardier had promised to have 163 out of the 202 carriages to be used on the Neihu line assembled by Taiwanese sub-contractors, Fan said Kawasaki has been asked to offer an offset plan as part of the contract as required by the Ministry of Economic Affairs' "industrial technologically cooperation" requirements.

Kawasaki has agreed to have about half of the 321 carriages assembled in Taiwan.

Takehiko Saeki, executive vice president of Kawasaki Heavy Industries promised that shipments of the Kawasaki-built EMUs will be delivered on time, or ahead of schedule.

Saeki said his Kawasaki team will present an offset plan within one year to allow Taiwanese sub-contractors to assemble half of the new carriages, while opening 20 percent of the parts and components purchases to Taiwanese suppliers.

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