Chinese firms win $274m Argentina railway contract

Updated: 2014-12-22 04:29

By Zhang Yuchen in Beijing(China Daily Latin America)

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Chinese firms win $274m Argentina railway contract

Inter-city bullet trains made by China's CSR Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd are put into operation in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 22. They are the first batch of trains from China's biggest train export deal. Jiang Chao / Xinhua 

A leading Chinese railway company said on Dec 15 that it had won a 1.7 billion yuan ($274 million) contract from the government of Argentina.

CSR Corp. Ltd. said on its website that it will provide 80 locomotives and 2,000 freight rail cars for a railway renovation project in the Latin American country.

The train-maker said it has been supplying trains and other rail products to Argentina since 2006. In 2013, it won two orders worth about $1 billion together from the country to supply inter-city trains.

It is just another win for the Chinese firm. In November, the company signed China’s largest single overseas construction deal with Nigeria, a deal valued at $12 billion. Despite the scrapping of bidding in early November for a $3.75 billion project by the Mexican government, the Chinese company has shown its interest in bidding again.

Chinese railway manufacturers have been stretching their muscle overseas with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang often promoting "high-speed railway diplomacy" during overseas trips.

A leading Chinese railway manufacturer, China Railway Construction Corp., along with its consortium, is expected to win the bid to build a high-speed railway from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. It will be the first high-speed rail in Southeast Asia and will reduce the journey overland between the two neighbors to 90 minutes from around six hours.

In addition, during his visit to Europe, Premier Li on Dec 17 announced agreements with Hungary, Serbia and Macedonia to build a land-sea express route by expanding the Budapest-Belgrade rail line to Skopje, the capital of Macedonia; Athens and the major container port of Piraeus in Greece. The agreement follows the China-Thailand high-speed railway cooperative program that Thailand has approved.

In the first nine months of 2014, CRCC inked 115 billion yuan in overseas contracts, accounting for one-fifth of new deals over that period. The equivalent proportion in 2013 was 6 percent.

By the end of 2013, China had a high-speed train network of more than 10,000 kilometers, the world's largest, which connected many major cities making travel and freight transport much faster and more convenient. By the end of 2015, the high-speed rail network is expected to reach 19,000 km.

China estimates it will build its fastest trains and rails at a cost of $17 million to $21 million per kilometer. In Europe, the range of costs is from about $25 million to $39 million, and the estimated cost in California is up to $52 million, according to the World Bank report.

According to a Xinhua report from October, CSR and China CNR Corp. Ltd., another prominent Chinese railway manufacturer, are in merger talks that, if successful, would greatly increase China’s global railway presence.