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GE Seeks Locomotive Co-operation with China

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 2004/07/01; July 1, 2004.]

By Xie Ye (China Daily)

GE, the world's leading multi-industry conglomerate, is negotiating with Chinese suppliers to build locomotives in China.

The move is part of the company's long-term strategy to extend its presence in China. It thinks the country has great potential for growth and developing interest in new technology.

"The Ministry of Railways is interested in our AC diesel locomotive. So we are talking with local Chinese suppliers about how we can form partnerships to bring the technology into China," said Charlene Begley, president and CEO of GE Transportation & Rail, in an interview.

"Our view is that there will be a Chinese built locomotive in the Chinese market," said Begley.

She said the company is discussing with the ministry and potential partners such as Northern Group and Southern Group about the possibility of local production.

But discussions are at a very early stage, Begley said.

Begley flew to China last week to visit government officials and local supplier partners and also to promote its AC diesel locomotives and signals technology.

Her visit comes at a time when China's constrained rail system is suffering from serious congestion that has caused delays in the transportation of many commodities such as coal and grain since late last year. The government is eager to obtain new technology to expand the capacity of the rail system.

Begley said GE's AC diesel locomotive technology could improve the fuel efficiency and reliability of railways.

Its new technology such as Locotrol enabled locomotives to carry heavier and longer trains at faster speeds, thus increasing the capacity of the rail system.

"There are lots of opportunities for GE to work with China to help railways increase capacity and better serve the economy."

Also on the agenda of Begley's trip is the promotion of its locomotives for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

The railways ministry has invited tenders for 78 locomotives for the railway - which will be the longest plateau railway at the highest elevation in the world.

"We are very interested in building a locomotive for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway," said Begley.

She said that the company's experience in operating locomotives in Peru has well demonstrated its capability to provide locomotives for high-elevation plateaus.

Begley maintained that GE Rail's co-operation with China goes beyond the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

"We are trying to build a long-term business relationship," said Begley.

"Our strategy is to bring the technology and partner with local suppliers."

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