KUALA LUMPUR: Japan’s Sumitomo Corp is keen to be involved in the construction of the estimated RM40bil high-speed rail linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.
The tender process for the mammoth project is expected next year, which is seen attracting a flurry of international companies.
It is likely that companies from Japan, China, France and even Spain will form partnerships with local firms to bid for the project, which is slated for completion by 2020.
Competition in the railway segment in Asia has been intense, with Japanese and Chinese companies bidding for the rising number of rail jobs, given the pace of economic growth and rising population in the region.
“We are now trying to promote Japanese technology for the project, including that of our partners like East Japan Railway Co (JR-East) who have been successful in the construction of the bullet train in Japan. They have the technology and knowhow to operate the high-speed rail project,” Sumitomo Corp Asia and Oceania Pte Ltd (KL branch) general manager Junichi Yano told StarBiz.
“Sumitomo is also in talks with the relevant authorities, including Malaysia’s Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), on the proposed project. At this juncture, we have not put in any tender for the project but hope to do so by next year,’’ Yano said.
Yano said this after the launch of Sumitomo’s online store, Soukai.my, in Malaysia yesterday.
Reuters had in a recent report said a Japanese consortium had begun groundwork ahead of bidding for the high-speed rail project.
The report said four major companies comprising JR-East, Sumitomo, Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had intended to offer the efficiency and reliability of Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train system.
Recently, the Asahi Shimbun quoted JR-East vice-chairman Masaki Ogata at a railway conference and exhibition in Kuala Lumpur as saying the company hopes to win the bid for the construction of the high-speed railway project which would cover about 350km.
SPAD chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal had earlier said it would likely hold the bidding for the project between October and December next year.
Sumitomo is currently involved in the construction of the mass rapid transit (MRT) project track works linking Sungai Buloh and Kajang. It is also involved in power plant and steel-related projects, fertiliser production and the telecommunications business in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Sumitomo subsidiary Sumisho Ecommerce Malaysia CEO Tetsu Nagashima said that RM15.6mil had been invested in Soukai.my, an e-commerce service.