In this exclusive interview with India Global Business, Ling Fang, Region President, Alstom Asia-Pacific shares her insights into the company’s latest acquisition of Bombardier, India’s locomotive sector and the company’s plans to expand their footprint in India.
Alstom's recently acquired Bombardier - how will this help the company expand its footprint in India?
Our vision is to accompany transportation stakeholders across the globe in meeting tomorrow’s mobility challenges. With the integration of Bombardier Transportation, we now have a stronger workforce, a larger footprint in engineering and manufacturing, enhanced R&D capabilities to drive growth by offering greater value to customers in India and globally.
This integration offers a significantly increased range of comprehensive portfolio of offerings to meet customer-specific needs, from cost-efficient mass-market platforms to high-end technological innovations. Today, Alstom has an unparalleled capability to deliver turnkey solutions and is the only multinational supplier in India to deliver a broad range of rail solutions for Urban & Mainline - metro and commuter cars, locomotives, rail equipment & infrastructure, signalling and services. With an enhanced presence in almost every metro project in India, Alstom can contribute towards strengthening India’s infrastructure requirements.
India remains our key market and manufacturing hub in Asia, for exports as well. Today, Alstom employs more than 8,000 employees and has expanded its presence across major Indian cities with six industrial sites and two engineering centres which cater to domestic and international markets.
Alstom has an unparalleled capability to deliver turnkey solutions and is the only multinational supplier in India to deliver a broad range of rail solutions for Urban & Mainline
We understand that India is becoming a global delivery centre for all of Alstom - and this is enhancing your worldwide competitiveness. What are the components in the Indian ecosystem that are helping drive Alstom’s worldwide ambitions?
India is a developed market for engineering and manufacturing. It has a strong advantage in terms of its location and positive long-term economic prospects. The Government has a clear roadmap where some of the key initiatives, like Make in India, Skill India, performance-linked incentives and preference for cleaner mobility, strengthens our belief in India's potential.
Alstom India is proud to work with the best local talents who innovate, partner, and develop technology solutions for India and the world. With our engineering base in India, Alstom caters to the domestic needs as well as delivering engineering, components, and fully built trainsets for various countries across the globe.
Our SriCity (Andhra Pradesh) factory is a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit for Urban Rolling Stock. The export projects from this factory include projects for Australia and Canada.
Our world-class rolling stock components facility in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) specialises in designing, manufacturing, and testing traction and electrical components. This factory exports to France, Belgium, Italy and Poland.
From our premium Savli (Gujarat) factory, which demonstrates world-class manufacturing and quality culture, we have delivered 75 trainsets to Queensland Rail New Generation.
The engineering centers in India (Bengaluru (Karnataka) and Hyderabad (Telangana) together is the largest for Alstom, outside of France, and delivers projects for many global sites.
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Private passenger trains could be the next big growth opportunity in India
Are Indian entities meeting your expectations on eco-design and manufacturing?
In terms of our manufacturing expectations, as mentioned previously we use our footprint in India to deliver domestic and international projects. Our manufacturing quality for the first driverless metro in Sydney, delivered from SriCity, India was at par with rolling stock supplied by our global factories. This clearly attests to India’s advanced manufacturing capabilities.
In the mainline space in India, Alstom is working with the Ministry of Railways (Indian Railways) to transform the heavy freight transportation landscape of the country. As part of the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project in the Railway sector.
Alstom is manufacturing at India’s largest integrated greenfield manufacturing facility at Madhepura in Bihar; 800 fully electric super-powered double-section locomotives of 12,000 HP capable of hauling ~6000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kmph.
This joint venture is one of the strongest realizations of Make-in-India vision in the railways sector with a strong impetus on indigenous manufacturing with over 85 per cent localization. The factory has a production capacity of 120 locomotives per annum. So far, more than 72 of these 12000 HP WAG-12 electric locomotives have been inducted into commercial service. With these powerful e-Locos being manufactured within the country, India has become the 6th country in the world to join the club of countries producing high horsepower locomotives indigenously.
Additionally, in the mainline space, we have recently won contracts for the rolling stock and signaling of the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut semi-high-speed rail corridor. This line will be the first in the country to adopt the European Train Control System (ETCS) hybrid Level 3 signaling system and will have majority of the engineering and manufacturing done locally.
At Alstom, we believe that the continued development of sustainable transport will only be possible by increasing the adoption of eco-design methods. This means that the choice of raw materials used for building, reducing the pollution created during its manufacturing and delivery, how much energy it uses, the waste it creates upon disposal, etc. are strong design drivers. We are implementing these principles in India on our export projects already. We are seeing increased interest in sustainability solutions from our Indian customers and are optimistic that future metro designs will have a higher concentration of these aspects in the design.
Alstom recently announced the manufacturing of Metro trains for the Kanpur Metro Rail Project. Can you tell us a little bit about that and if it involves Make in India?
Alstom will be building and delivering 201 metro cars and an advanced signalling solution for the 30-km Agra Metro and the 32-km Kanpur Metro projects. The Agra and Kanpur metro rail projects will have two corridors each connecting major public nodes, tourist places including the Taj Mahal, and city cluster areas, resulting in a sustainable and reliable public transport system for the two cities.
In line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative, we are indigenously designing and building 67 units of MOVIA metro three-car trainsets equipped with advanced signalling solution (CITYFLO 650). The rolling stock has been designed at the Global Engineering and Technology Centre in Hyderabad. We recently commenced manufacturing of the world-class metro trains at our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Savli and Maneja, Gujarat. The local content in the contract will be close to 75 per cent. This project will improve connectivity and enhance passenger experience to around four million people in Kanpur and two million people in Agra. Additionally, the overall project will significantly contribute to the socio-economic development of the region.
There is an increased awareness and focus on green transportation - could you apply this concept to the Indian business environment and share your thoughts on what the ground reality is now and where do you see it five years from now, or even sooner?
Today, Alstom is the world leader in sustainable mobility with a simple but ambitious project: to develop tomorrow's mobility, which is carbon-free, safe, comfortable and competitive. This creation comes at a time when the ecological transition is more than ever a priority. As you know, trains consume 10 times less CO2 than planes, and are by far the most environmentally friendly means of transport! Rail and, more broadly, sustainable mobility are also at the heart of stimulus plans, around the world.
With the Indian governments proactiveness in adopting green technologies and Alstom’s expanded footprint, we are today a frontrunner in providing innovative, sustainable solutions in urban and rural mobility.
For its part, Bombardier Transportation has acquired a great deal of expertise in the field of electro-mobility. Together, our combined innovation capabilities are unparalleled and will enable us to accelerate the development of our clean and autonomous train offering. Overall, our new combined portfolio allows us to meet the different needs of our customers when it comes to decarbonization initiatives.
In 2018, we were pioneers with the inauguration of the very first hydrogen-powered train in Germany, the Coradia iLint, which is now enjoying growing success with successful tests completed in Austria and new orders in Italy. This is a perfect illustration of our commitment to designing and delivering solutions that are both innovative and environmentally friendly. With the interest in new technologies like ‘MetroLite’ and ‘MetroNeo’ for urban transport and the launch of a comprehensive National Hydrogen Energy Mission recently announced by the Indian government, we are confident of bringing our global success stories in sustainable mobility to India soon.
Our signaling solutions specifically in India, allow for lower energy costs and a reduction of consumption of up to 30 per cent. Announcement of new freight corridors in the country gives us the scope to newly build and further upgrade existing solutions while helping us ease congestion and make collective transportation more lucrative.