[photopress:Bombardier_engines.jpg,full,alignright]Always interesting to see China being held up as an example for another country to follow — this time Australia. The world’s biggest freight locomotive contract has been let in China, while Australia’s federal and state governments go to war again on road funding.
China’s Ministry of Railways has ordered 500 electric freight locomotives capable of hauling full loads at 120 km/h.
The US$1.4 billion contract with Dalian Locomotives and Rolling Stock and Canada’s Bombardier will be manufactured in Europe and China with delivery from 2009 to 2011. The Kiruna locomotive with 9600 kW power is the most powerful electric freight loco in the world.
China has a similar length of freight railways to Australia but carries far, far greater volume. Bombardier China president Jianwei Zhang says the ‘cutting edge design and technology would contribute to the reliability and efficiency of China’s rail capability’.
Back in Australia the federal and state governments have begun arguing whether the whole second tranche of Auslink, the total federal contribution to national highways and freight routes over five years from 2009, should or should not exceed $15 billion.
The politics are complex as Australia has a bicameral system for each state as well as for Australia. And they all want to get their snouts in the trough.
The states are trying to push the negotiations ahead, in part for the state of NSW to claim some credit (and shift blame for the state’s poor infrastructure to the Commonwealth before the state election). The state government suspects, with good reason, that the federal government is planning a major infrastructure announcement either in the May federal Budget or ahead of the federal election.
The Australian Freight Transport Logistics Strategy was first developed in 2001/02. It has never been fully implemented and is, yet again, being reviewed. That review will provide data and industry input on which to base the strategy and funding for the second round of Auslink, the contribution to national highways and freight routes.
The China railway deal (just one of many) equals 13% of the entire federal roads and rail funding over five years for Australia. So in Australian magazines and newspapers China logistics are held up as an example for Australia to follow.
Source: Supply Chain Review
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