Railway businesses look abroad
Date: Sep 25, 2014
Source: The Japan News – by Masataka Morita
BERLIN — Railway business-related Japanese corporations are stepping up efforts to win orders for railway service projects overseas, convinced that the domestic railway market is bound to shrink due to the declining population.
The trend was evident at this year’s InnoTrans, the world’s largest railway business trade fair, which opened in Berlin on Tuesday. More than 30 Japanese companies signed up for the exhibition, held once every two years, in the hope of promoting their high technological expertise.
The venue for the trade fair, Messe Berlin, is a 15-minute train ride from central Berlin.
Hitachi, Ltd.‘s booth displays a full-size model of its AT-200 train designed to meet the demands of regional or outer suburban customers. The train car is designed to conform to European standards, while Hitachi made it possible to cut costs and shorten delivery time by standardizing designs and parts.
A senior official at the British Department for Transport who visited the four-day event said the AT-200 train’s technologies were new and innovative, and that Britain had high hopes for Hitachi.
Hitachi Global Chief Executive Officer Alistair Dormer, who heads the firm’s railway business, said the company has been promoting the AT-200 train for use in commuting in Scotland, London and Munich.
Hitachi’s selling point is the company can undertake all relevant work from constructing train cars and parts to creating a railway traffic control system on its own. This business model is the same as that of Alstom of France, Siemens AG of Germany, and Bombardier of Canada — the big three rolling stock manufacturers that dominate the world’s railway market. The sales volume of Hitachi’s railway business in the settlement term ending in March 2014 amounted to ¥168.2 billion.
In Britain, where Hitachi’s railway business is based, the firm accepted its first order in that country to construct 174 train cars for a high-speed railway in 2005. In July last year, Hitachi took orders for projects totaling ¥1 trillion, including constructing a total of 866 train cars or maintenance services in Britain. More recently, Hitachi, along with an automobile maker affiliated with Italy’s conglomerate Finmeccanica, bid for the purchase of a traffic signal control system manufacturer, stepping up its presence in Europe.