A group of Korean companies and government agencies has jumped into an international race to win a $20 billion bullet-train project in Brazil, industry officials said yesterday.
They said that the Korean consortium plans to meet high ranking Brazilian federal government officials starting this week, to promote the country`s railway technologies and operational know-how.
Brazil plans to open bids for the high-speed train on March 2 and will name a preferred bidder in May, the officials said.
The Korean companies include state-run railway operator Korail and Korea Rail Network Authority, high-speed train manufacturer Hyundai Rotem and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Officials will stress the geographical similarity between the Seoul-Busan route with the planned Rio-San Paulo route and the successful operation of KTX.
"Although started with technological know-how delivered by French engineers, Korea has succeeded in developing its own bullet train and has experience in building stations and railways for the high-speed trains. It has also shown excellent train operation management as well as no major accident reported so far," Chang Deok-gyu, deputy general manager of Hyundai Rotem Company said.
The $20 billion project aims to build 510 kilometer high speed railway to connect Rio with Sao Paulo and Campinas and will cover seven stations including stops at international airports. The rail line will allow the South American country to operate high speed trains at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour, reports said. The railway is expected to be built ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Currently, seven consortiums have announced their participation in the bid including Korea, China, Japan, Italy and Germany. Groups of companies from France and Spain will also take part, but companies in Asian countries are likely to win the race, officials said.
Korea has recently introduced its first homegrown bullet train, KTX-II, that offers safer and more convenient services, according to officials.
The new train will begin its operation on the lines connecting Seoul and Busan and Seoul and Gwangju on March 2. The commercial operation of KTX-II also means that the country has proved itself capable of exporting high-speed trains to other countries. The consortium responsible for developing the KTX-II intends to export the trains to places that are considering building high-speed train networks, including Brazil, Turkey and California in the United States, officials said. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
By Cho Chung-un