China gears up to woo Singapore in bid for High-Speed Rail project to KL
Singapore's transport minister Khaw Boon Wan viewing exhibits at the High-Speed Rail Technology Symposium on Friday (Nov 17). (Photo: Dylan Loh)
SINGAPORE: China has shifted into high gear its efforts to court Singapore for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, hosting a day-long symposium on Friday (Nov 17) to show off its wares and track record. China's National Development and Reform Commission centered its pitch on the wealth of experience the country has accumulated over the years in building its own HSR networks, touting scale, speed and safety as key selling points.Kicking off the symposium in Singapore, vice-chairman of the commission Ning Jizhe spent about 15 minutes explaining the benefits of engaging Chinese expertise on HSR ventures.Speaking to more than 200 private and public sector representatives, including Singapore's transport minister Khaw Boon Wan, Mr Ning emphasised how China has the world’s fastest and longest HSR system.He said the system is more than 22,000 kilometers in length, accounting for more than half of the globe’s HSR mileage and carrying about 15 million passengers daily with trains that can hit speeds of 350 kilometres an hour.Mr Ning said China can bring its technical know-how to the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail project, for which a tender for building the infrastructure is slated to be called by the end of this year.
“The Chinese enterprises are now actively preparing to contest in the tender. We want to make a contribution to the High-Speed Rail between Singapore and Malaysia – make a contribution there under a very fair, competitive landscape,” said Mr Ning.With comprehensive economic links to the countries on both sides of the Causeway, observers have tipped China as a strong contender to watch in the bidding.China representatives also said they have placed heavy emphasis on ensuring safety on their HSR networks. This involves a strict management regime that has 37 surveillance systems covering safety monitoring of trains and environmental observation during operations.“The core technological system – we have got a complete system integration. We can have total control on the safety, traction and also the train set control,” said Su Quanli, deputy administrator of China’s National Railway Administration.In addition, China touted its ability to develop HSR systems suited for the tropical environments of Singapore and Malaysia.It highlighted the Hainan Island network, a 653km circular system built in a climate similar to that of the tropics.“China is a very vast country, covering different lands and we are faced with varied natural conditions. And we enjoyed mature technologies and rich experiences in building and operating high-speed railways under different climatic and geological conditions,” said China Railway vice-president Huang Min.With breakthroughs in technology made over the years, China representatives said its HSR networks are cost-effective and compatible with existing systems used elsewhere in the world.