China firm eyes Singapore-Kuala Lumpur rail

China Railway Company Corp is eyeing the $11bn Singapore-Kuala Lumpur railway link project amid tight international competition.

China Railway Construction Corp is preparing to bid for the construction of a Y70 billion (€9 billion; $11 billion) high-speed railway project connecting Singapore to the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, a Chinese local newspaper reported yesterday.

Unlike light-rail transit systems and ordinary train technologies, bullet trains – which made their way onto the country’s developed railway network in 2007 – have never been exported outside the country's frontiers to date.

The project, to cover the two economic hubs’ 350 kilometres distance, will aim to reduce the current three-and-a-half hours road journey by two hours and the current six-hour train journey almost fourfold, significantly alleviating the impediments currently bearing on bilateral trade.

The project has been in Malaysia’s pipeline since February last year and a feasibility study, undertaken by Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat, Malaysia’s public transportation commission, is currently undergoing governmental scrutiny in both countries.

Although the tendering process is still at an early stage, construction is said to be scheduled for the fourth quarter of next year with operations to start by 2020.

Companies which have manifested interest in the project include Germany's Siemens, Alstom of France and Japan's Kawasaki Heavy Industries. Spanish and Korean competitors are also said to be in the running.