Thursday, July 28, 2011

"A lucrative market is just one of the many reasons [we exhibit at AusRAIL]," says Chinese exhibitor

AusRAIL is now a truly global event, and there is rapidly growing interest in the Australian rail market from China. One of the major suppliers from the Chinese market is Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric Co Ltd, who exhibited at AusRAIL 2010 and will return again with a greater presence at AusRAIL PLUS 2011. The following interview was recorded during the 2010 exhibition in Perth, and examines some of the key motivations behind their presence at the event, the benefits to Australia of the increased competition Chinese companies can provide, and their plans to build on their experiences at AusRAIL 2010.

Hello Mr Jiang, welcome to AusRAIL 2010. So this is your first time exhibiting at AusRAIL?

How are you finding AusRAIL 2010 so far?
It’s going very well. The exhibition is very organised and orderly. We can see that AusRAIL is an internationally highly attended event. We feel that our involvement at AusRAIL 2010 is a definite must – it’s just a shame that we hadn’t gotten onboard earlier!

Could you introduce us to the products that you brought here today?
Of course. I would like to introduce our parent company CSR and our subdivision Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric – TEC. CSR is the largest manufacturer for rail locomotives in China and TEC is the largest manufacturer for rail locomotive transmission systems. Our products range includes national railway locomotives, electric locomotives, diesel locomotives, high-speed EMU and the metro. We also designed and manufactured the 380km/hr EMU which is in full business operation at the moment in China. The products we brought to the exhibition today are mainly parts from the control systems of diesel locomotives, because we think they would be suited to the demand of the Australian market, where diesel locomotives play a major role. The performance and quality of our products are widely recognised in China and we have attractive prices and excellent customer service to match.

You’ve come a long way from China. Would you say it’s because of the lucrative Australian market?
Well, a lucrative market is just one of the many reasons. China has been an open market for sometime: Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier, GE, EMD… the majority of the big international players have been involved in the railway development in China. Having grown up in such diverse business environment, we feel that CSR and TEC too should expand to our international market. We hope to put a strong foothold in the Australian market – this will not only be beneficial to CSR and TEC as we are expanding our customer base, it will also be beneficial to the Australian market as there will be even more diversity and choice.

Would you recommend your industry peers in China to come to Australia to exhibit at future AusRAIL events?
We definitely will. In fact, we’ve been recommended in the past. Two years ago, CSR came to AusRAIL with a small team. Our feedback wasn’t as good as we hoped, perhaps due to the fact that people didn’t know much about Chinese organisations back then. Our goal this year is to introduce ourselves to the Australian market. Next year we will have an even bigger exhibition stand – seven to eight times bigger – where we will showcase many more of our products, eventually building a solid foundation for the future for us in Australia. And I’m sure other Chinese organisations will follow suit too. Where else is better to do this than at AusRAIL – a high quality showcasing platform in the Australian open market?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The time has come for high speed rail in Australia

In the lead up to AusRAIL PLUS 2011, Bryan Nye, CEO of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), talks about the reality of high speed rail in Australia and the importance of the passengers as customers.

1. AusRAIL PLUS 2011 is just 5 months away and is shaping up to be the biggest AusRAIL PLUS the industry has seen. Do you feel the growth of the event mirrors the trajectory of the rail industry in Australia over the past few years?
• We're going to go through a new golden age for rail.
• In the last 2 years, employment in the rail industry has increased by 9%
• Every week there an extra million tons of iron ore being exported out of Australia which requires a new train set a week, a new rolling stock and track.
• Passenger networks are reaching capacity at every city on the east and west coast.
• Growth rate is pushing the industry to its limits.

2. The theme of the program this year is 'Innovation and Customer Relations', how did you decide the theme for the agenda this year and why are those areas so important to address in 2011?
• We know we have an aged rolling stock fleet capacity on freight networks and passenger networks. We have to look at doing things differently.
• We're aware that we're at capacity on the freight network.
• We have to look at doing things differently- to sweat the assets and improve performance.
• New electronics and signaling systems are things we need to adapt quickly.
• People aren't passengers they're customers with particular needs.
• We are a customer based industry.

3. One of the key areas Australia is looking likely to innovate in over the coming decade is High Speed Rail, China is innovating in this field at an incredible rate but recent questions have emerged about the speeds that can be realized safely on their network, what can Australia learn from their experiences and do you feel that by the time it becomes a reality here these obstacles will have been overcome?
• There is a lot of focus on China but in Japan they're building 500km per hour new maglev to go between Toyko and Osaka.
• The Spanish, Italian and French all say they're trialing new trains at 400km per hour.
• The way of the future, particularly for long distance passenger travelling
• Nothing more needs between the east coast capitals than a high speed rail network
• People are surprised we have the 3rd busiest air corridor in the world between Sydney and Melbourne- we need as we go into a carbon Australia economy we have petroleum product shortages looming in the future. We need an alternative.
• The time has come for high speed rail in Australia.

4. Realising the value of the customer is essential in any industry, do you think the rail industry realizes the true value of their customers or can they improve in this area?
• The rail industry has a long tradition, been in Australia for 150years
• In the past the schedule was more important than the customer.
• Engineering focus things, such as getting the train out and back on time, how it ran- were incredibly important.
• All of a sudden the government is aware we're there to service the community.
• Customers will be the great focus of every rail operator in Australia in the future.

5. What can people expect to gain from attending AusRAIL PLUS this year?
• It's the peak conference for rail industry in Australia
• It brings in the key speakers- all the CEOS attend and provide their honest impressions and challenges facing them.
• Exciting presentations talking about how other industries are focused on innovation, how other people dealt with customers in other industry
• If you want to learn, be informed and know where the industry is going and be part of it, you have to go to AusRAIL.

What do you think of what Bryan said?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Exclusive from AusRAIL 2010: Rio Tinto's Jack Sato on the future growth of Australia's iron ore railways

We interviewed Jack Sato, Managing Director, Pilbara Infrastructure & Robe River Mining, Rio Tinto at AusRAIL 2010:

1.You are addressing AusRAIL about the future growth of Australia's iron ore railways -- what can you tell us about their development and your thoughts on future trends?
2. How important is rail to the re-ignited mining boom and do you feel it's importance will increase as new projects come online?
3. AusRAIL 2010 is the first time the event has come to Perth, does that reflect the rising importance of rail within the region and how important is an event like this to raising the profile of your work in WA?