HITACHI, as part of the MHSC consortium that won the third contract in the Red Line commuter-rail project, has promised to deliver train carriages in 2020 as scheduled, while expecting to contribute to the Thai economy through its newly launched Social In
“We are still in talks with the State Railway of Thailand on the specifications of the carriages,” said Yasuo Mizutani, managing director of Hitachi Asia (Thailand) Co.
At press briefing before the Hitachi Social Innovation Forum in Bangkok yesterday, Mizutani said that after the contract was signed in March, the date for delivery of the carriages had been set to start in 2020.
According to the SRT’s schedule, the Bt80-billion Red Line running through 10 stations from Bangkok to Rangsit, a distance of 26.3 kilometres, is expected to open for service in 2020.
Hitachi’s two partners in the MHSC joint venture are Mitsubishi Heavy Industry Ltd and Sumitomo Corporation.
The Red Line’s third contract covers designs for railway construction, electrical and signalling systems, an autonomic ticketing system, and train carriages. The contract is valued at about Bt32.39 billion.
Hitachi is also interested in bidding for the Pink Line and Yellow Line urban-rail projects, said Ichiro Iino, chief executive for Asia-Pacific.
“We are now in talks with our partners, setting the scope of works, and preparing to participate in the bidding this year,” he said, declining to provide details about the names of the company’s local partners.
The Hitachi Social Innovation Forum is the Japanese company’s global flagship event, and this is the first time it has been held in Thailand as part of its business-expansion plans here.
Besides Thailand, Mizutani said the forum would be held in the United States, China and Japan.
He said Thailand had potential to help the company launch innovative solutions, as many of its subsidiaries are here in Thailand along with other Japanese companies.
“For instance, the social innovation business will take part to … play a role in the Red Line,” Mizutani said.
Meanwhile, Iino said the social innovation business was not just about railway systems, but also how to resolve traffic jams or how to use transport-system tickets mutually for other payments such as at supermarkets and fuel stations. However, any solutions to be used in Thailand have not yet been discussed with Hitachi’s stakeholders.
According to its recently announced 2018 mid-term management plan, Hitachi aims to increase its overseas sales proportion to more than 55 per cent, compared with less than 50 per cent currently.
With half of Hitachi’s headcount and its the biggest operations in Southeast Asia, Thailand will play an instrumental role in helping the company achieve the target.
Thailand’s production base has been in transition, shifting its focus to more high-end products. However, Hitachi has not yet determined which part of the sector it will invest in over the next three to five years, Mizutani said.
As the government has been ramping up spending on infrastructure development to boost the country’s economy and competitiveness, Hitachi says it stands ready to provide support through its areas of expertise.
Hitachi last year recorded |revenue of 10 trillion yen (Bt3.44 trillion) globally, of which 10 per cent was from Asia excluding China.
In Thailand, Hitachi has around 16,000 employees in 15 registered companies, which posted 200 billion yen in sales last year.