George Kent joins European bid for S’pore rail link

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KUALA LUMPUR: George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd has joined a consortium with European firms to bid for the construction and maintenance of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail link, Reuters reported.

The project, valued at about US$17 billion (RM67 billion) by analysts, is the biggest undertaken by Malaysia and Singapore in recent years, with a decision on the tender expected by the year-end.

George Kent said today it will work with Siemens AG, Alstom SA, Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane SpA and Porr AG on a joint tender offer, encompassing engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), and operations and maintenance (O&M).

George Kent said in a statement the consortium will combine European technology and project experience with the Malaysian construction firm’s local knowledge.

The consortium faces competition from around Asia.

Companies from China, whose influence is growing in the region, are vying for the project, but there will also be bids from Japanese firms, as well as South Korean companies.

China Railway Corporation would lead a consortium of Chinese companies, while Japan’s JR East would head another, including Sumitomo Corporation, Hitachi Ltd, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and NEC Corp, Reuters reported last month.

South Korea’s consortium would include Hyundai Rotem Co and Hyundai Engineering and Construction.

Malaysia and Singapore are jointly tendering the work, with the tender due to close on June 29.

Bernama reported George Kent chairman Tan Kay Hock as saying the company had assembled a strong team and would be working together with experienced partners to deliver and maintain the safest and most reliable high-speed rail system in the world.

“We aim to facilitate technology transfer and maximise local content, resources and human capital in line with Malaysia’s aspiration of developing a resilient and vibrant rail industry,” he added.

Head of Siemens Mobility Asia Pacific, Michel Obadia, said the company was committed to technology transfer to both Malaysia and Singapore, while looking forward to continuing its partnership with both countries on this iconic project.

“With the help of our global network of recognised experts, we will be able to provide the most innovative technical solution for a comfortable and safe journey,” he added.

Alstom Asia-Pacific senior vice-president Jean-Francois Beaudoin, said with the company’s expertise in complex high-speed projects, it was keenly looking at the tender and seeking the best partnerships, locally and internationally, in offering the finest solution to Singapore and Malaysia.

The HSR project, announced in 2010, will connect Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru with Singapore, and has been slated for completion in 2026.

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