At the China-Arab States High-speed Rail Conference 2017 held on September 6 during the China-Arab States Expo, a group of Chinese companies talked with representatives from several Arab countries to better know each other and seek cooperation opportunities.
Many Gulf countries are geographically close to Europe and they used to purchase more European railway products and services, so a conference like this is very necessary, said Zhou Biao, deputy manager of the international business department of CRRC Corporation Limited (CRRC), "they will have chance to see or even experience real Chinese high-speed trains."
---FAST DEVELOPMENT OF CHINA'S RAILWAYS
Liu Zhenfang, deputy general manager of China Railway Cooperation (CRC), said at the forum that "China has already become one of the leaders in railway technology in the world after several years' fast development and the high-speed rail has become a name card of China."
Statistics show that China's total railway mileage reached 124,000 kilometers by the end of 2016, ranking at the second place in the world.
In addition, with a total length of 22,000 kilometers, China's total high-speed railway mileage accounted for 60 percent of the world's total.
"Chinese companies have extended their business across Asia, Europe, North America and Africa, and key projects such as Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway in Indonesia, China-Laos railway, and Hungary-Serbia high-speed railway have been implemented while Malaysia-Singapore high-speed railway, Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway in Russia and China-Thailand railway are all making steady progress," said Liu.
Chinese companies are now trying to build respectful brands in international market with the spirit of creating mutual benefits under the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, said Zhou.
--- LARGE DEMAND FOR RAILWAY DEVELOPMENT
China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. vice president Wang Jian noted that the railway industry is embracing an era of rejuvenation in the 21st century. In the recent years, the world has been plagued by problems such as energy crisis, environment pollution and traffic security, and developing low-carbon transportation has become a inevitable choice.
Wang added that railway plays an important role in enhancing regional economic, political, social, cultural connections and national security. Global economic integration has strengthened the demand for regional railway network construction. Many countries have allocated a great deal of resources to develop railways.
China has rich experience in building railways in various climate conditions and the high-speed train operation data backed by the huge domestic market help it continuously improve its technology, said Zhou.
--- CHINA-ARAB RAILWAY COOPERATION
Mohamed Khardi, chief engineer of the National Office for Railways of Morocco, said in 2016, Morocco and China signed a MoU on a railway project of high-speed line between the two cities of Marrakech and Agadir with a length of 240 kilometers.
Since the summer of 2016, several meetings and exchanges have taken place with our partners from China. Experts from both sides have agreed on the main technical features of this mega project which is complex as it is characterized by the crossing of the mountain range of the atlas where several tunnels and special structures are planned.
"We are now approaching the phase of implementation of effective institutional and organizational arrangements. We expect our Chinese partners to be more involved in order to realize this beautiful project as soon as possible," said Khardi.
A MoU was signed between the Jordanian government and the Chinese government to implement a railway network project, according to H.E. Inmar Khasawneh, secretary-general of Jordan's Ministry of Transport.
A pre- feasibility study for the railway project was presented. The Chinese company and the Chinese bank visited the Ministry of Transport recently to finance the railway project, he said.
Representatives from Egypt and Sudan also presented national railway plans seeking international investors especially Chinese investors to join their plans.
Chinese companies are also trying to play a role in promoting local industrial development through local recruitment, manufacturing, procurement and maintenance, Zhou noted.