Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 3 News List

THSRC strives for more domestic input

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

A model of one of the multifunctional maintenance vehicles that China Steel Corp is to build for Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp is displayed at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Cheng Wei-chi, Taipei Times

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) yesterday said it aims to raise the percentage of its high-speed rail system that is maintained or built by local service providers and manufacturers from 15 percent to 30 percent by 2022.

The high-speed rail operator signed a contract with China Steel Corp yesterday morning, authorizing the state-run steel firm to build 12 multifunctional electric wire maintenance vehicles in the next 66 months.

About 60 percent of the technology and parts that are to be used to build the vehicles would be produced in Taiwan, THSRC said.

The contract is an important milestone because it signifies a step further toward the localization of the nation’s railway industry, THSRC chairman Chiang Yao-chung (江耀宗) said.

“We have accumulated 11 years of experience in maintaining the high-speed rail system, which helps, as we are designing new maintenance vehicles that we will use in the near future,” he said. “We hope that the step we take today will take the railway toward building an indigenous train system.”

The company has 27 electric wire maintenance vehicles, which are manufactured in Japan or Germany, Chiang said, adding that they have been in use for 40 to 50 years and have different functions.

“From our experience in maintaining the high-speed rail system, we believe that the electric wire maintenance vehicles provide a safe platform for workers that allows them to work more efficiently. Therefore, we are working with China Steel to design a maintenance vehicle that has a bigger work platform and can turn in different directions,” he said.

In addition to having more domestically produced maintenance vehicles, the company would establish key performance indicators to ensure that the percentage of the high-speed rail system that is maintained or produced by domestic service providers or manufacturers is doubled in five years, he said.

THSRC’s contract with China Steel is estimated to cost NT$123.2 million (US$4 million), the company said, adding that some of it would be used to repair and maintain electric wires in 2021.

The high-speed rail system has revolutionized Taiwan since it was launched in 2007, Minister of Transportation and Communications Wu Hong-mo (吳宏謀) said, adding that he hopes that the THSRC-China Steel partnership will motivate others to follow suit.

The railway industry presents many business opportunities, from the high-speed rail system, the Taiwan Railways Administration system and the mass rapid transit systems to light rail systems, Wu said, dismissing allegations that the construction of railway systems would become a financial burden on local governments.

“International tourists like to travel in Taipei, New Taipei City and Keelung because it is convenient for them to transfer between railway systems,” he said. “This is a chicken-and-egg question, and nobody knows what the future may hold.”

“We think that railway transportation is the way to help form metropolitan areas in northern, central and southern Taiwan,” Wu said.

Minister of Economic Affairs Sheng Jong-chin (沈榮津) said that THSRC would soon make public a list of items to be used for railway maintenance, as well as their quantities and specifications, for domestic companies interested in producing them.

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