Six Singapore firms join hands to vie for high-speed rail contracts

The upcoming Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR) project not only promises to bring the two cities closer but is also a source of lucrative contracts and other business opportunities worth billions of dollars.

To capitalise on this, six Singapore firms have come together as partners, with plans to team up with international players to jointly participate in high-speed rail projects, starting with the KL-SG HSR.

They are Clifford Capital, DBS Bank, Sembcorp Design and Construction, SMRT International, Surbana Jurong and Singapore Technologies Electronics.

The 350km rail project between the governments of Singapore and Malaysia is expected to be operational by the end of 2026.

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, in a joint statement with the six firms yesterday, said it brought the local players together to help "capture global opportunities" in view of the KL-SG HSR's significance and potential.

Japan and China are among the parties that have shown interest in bidding for the project, while six contracts have been awarded for reference design consultants, including American firm Aecom and a consortium made up of engineering companies Systra and Meinhardt.

"The partnership leverages unique strengths of each company, enabling them to expand into the high-speed rail segment," said IE Singapore. "Together, their solutions cover the entire value chain of financing, design, construction, system integration, operations and maintenance."

"By banding together, we have a stronger value proposition, combining many years of track record across the rail value chain," said Sembcorp Design and Construction chief executive Yam Ah Mee, noting the complementary nature of the team's wealth of local operating knowledge in Malaysia as well as in Singapore.

IE Singapore group director for environment and infrastructure solutions Kow Juan Tiang noted that transport infrastructure accounted for 25 per cent of the US$4.3 trillion (S$5.9 trillion) in global infrastructure spending last year, and that the high-speed rail sub-segment is a key growth area.

"Singapore companies can access this space through this strategic project between Malaysia and Singapore. This partnership between the six companies is crucial for building capabilities in new infrastructure verticals," he said.

The Land Transport Authority and Malaysia's MyHSR Corporation will be conducting an industry briefing on Wednesday to outline parameters of the upcoming AssetsCo tender for the KL-SG HSR.

The AssetsCo will be responsible for the design, build, finance and maintenance of rolling stock and the design, build, finance, operations and maintenance of all rail assets, such as track work, power, signalling and telecommunications, and network operations.

The tenders for the project are expected to be called by the end of this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2017, with the headline 'Six S'pore firms join hands to vie for high-speed rail contracts'. Print Edition | Subscribe