BOMBARDIER, the Canada-based leading manufacturer of planes and trains, expects business value in Thailand to reach Bt100 billion by 2022 thanks to the Kingdom’s increased investment in infrastructure projects, including rail systems.
“This will boost by 100 per cent our total backlog, which is projects worth Bt50 billion already on hand and scheduled for delivery to our customers in the next three to five years,” said Gregory Enjalbert, the company’s vice president, Asia Pacific, Rail Control Solutions, and managing director of Thailand Bombardier Transportation, during a group interview at InnoTrans 2018 in Berlin on Tuesday.
In keeping with the demand, the company will increase the number of employees in Thailand from 600 to 700 next year and boost the number to 1,000 in 2022. Up to 80 per cent of total staff are Thai nationals, he said.
“We are investing in developing people in the country where we are expanding our market, because we believe to develop our business in the long term we have to train local staff to become experts so that they can help us drive business growth,” he said.
He added that Thailand is its most aggressive market in Asean countries, as the Kingdom is pursuing a policy to develop the country’s infrastructure, including the rail system. The company will focus on rail systems such as double track, high-speed trains, light rail, the trains, engineering system, parchments, maintenance, signal system, and other aspects.
Thailand’s Transport Ministry had announced early this year that bids for infrastructure projects worth up to Bt2.02 trillion will be invited from 2018 to 2022, of which 79 per cent of the total, or Bt1.59 trillion, will be for rail systems.
“We have the technology and staff to support all rail systems in Thailand. Our headquarters in Thailand employs 600 personnel who are experts in rail engineering systems. This helps our customers with maintenance and development of their system together. We partner our customers to take care of them through research and we design the system to support them with sustainable business,” Enjalbert said.
He added that the company continued to collaborate with Mahidol University to develop a Rail Engineering bachelor’s degree programme to create engineering support staff for the country’s growing rail system. The programme will be announced next year. Bombardier Transportation has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mahidol University to strengthen cooperation for graduate education and research in the field of rail transportation over the next five years (2018-22).
“We believe that Thailand has to develop the country’s rail system to support economic growth, which will require more transportation. Urbanisation also has changed people’s lifestyle in the city, driving increasing demand for railways. This is the key to drive our business growth in Thailand although the market still has high competition from other railway companies who are also eyeing a greater share of Thailand’s infrastructure projects,” he said.
However, the company has the confidence it can expand its business in Thailand to achieve its goal of Bt100-billion in business value in the next five years, as it has the technology, expert personnel, and relationship with its customers when they need some help in resolving a system error. The company already supports and helps them solve their problems immediately. Five years ago, Bombardier’s business value, or backlog, in Thailand was only Bt5 billion. But that has risen rapidly to Bt50 billion, which is the company’s fastest business expansion in Asean, he said.
Currently, the company has signed a turnkey agreement to construct the Pink Line and the Yellow Line monorail worth over Bt20 billion with BSR, the entity awarded the contracts. It is a joint venture between BTS Group Holding, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding.
The company also has signed an agreement to provide Bombardier Innovia 300 Automated People Mover cars, Bombardier Cityflo Communications-based Train Control (CBTC) and system integration for the Bangkok Gold Line (phase one). The company is also providing the Cityflo CBTC solution for operation on the MRT Purple Line.