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Mitsubishi, Hitachi win Myanmar rail systems contract

A consortium comprising both Japanese firms has been awarded the latest of the PPP agreement-derived deals to modernise the country’s transport and power infrastructure.

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) and Hitachi have announced the signing of a contract with Myanmar Railways to supply and install signalling systems in the country, valued at approximately ¥2.4 billion (€17.7 million; $20 million).

The contract, financed by grant aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is one of a series derived from a first public-private partnership (PPP) signed in April last year between the Japanese and Myanmar governments and private groups from both countries'. Last month, Mitsubishi and Hitachi were commissioned a power generation project in the country via the same framework.

“Several railway infrastructure projects are being planned in Myanmar, including the modernisation of the whole Yangon-Mandalay route and the Yangon loop line. This project carries particular significance because the tranche covered connects the Yangon-Mandalay route and the Yangon loop line. With this project as a first step, MC and Hitachi will continue to pursue opportunities for involvement in future railway infrastructure projects in Myanmar,” the companies said in a statement.

Completion of the project is scheduled for June 2017.

The signalling systems to be supplied and installed by MC and Hitachi consist of a Train Monitoring System, which enables operational control centres to conduct unified management of train positions, an Electronic Interlocking System that controls turnout machines and signal lamps for realising safe train operations and a Level Crossing System which detects approaching trains and gives an aumatic warning. The systems will be installed along a 140-kilometre stretch between Yangon Central Station and Pyuntasa Station, located along the railway route that runs from Yangon to Mandalay in Upper Myanmar.

Given the aging of existing railway infrastructure in Myanmar, improvement of the quality and safety of railway services has become an urgent issue. Since most long-haul transportation in Myanmar depends on automobiles and airlines, developing rail transportation infrastructure is needed in order to accommodate increasing demand for passenger and cargo transportation.

MC is part of a consortium named Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development, a joint venture that also comprises Sumitomo Corporation and Marubeni Corporation which has been developing the 396-hectare 'class A area' SEZ due to open in June this year.