CRRC plant is get­ting ready to roll

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Business - By HONG XIAO in Spring­field, Mas­sachusetts xi­ao­hong@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

As Chi­nese rail equip­ment is tar­geted for ad­di­tional tar­iffs by the US as a re­sult of the US trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive’s Sec­tion 301 in­ves­ti­ga­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion, China Rail­road Rolling Stock Cor­po­ra­tion (CRRC), the world’s largest rail car man­u­fac­turer, is show­ing its con­cern.

“As rail equip­ment has been in­cluded into Sec­tion 301, we are con­cerned about whether it will af­fect the rail equip­ment (trade), and thus af­fect a whole mar­ket change later,” said Jia Bo, vice-pres­i­dent of CRRC MA Corp.

Jia said the com­pany is deal­ing with the sit­u­a­tion ac­tively, co­or­di­nat­ing with rel­e­vant US de­part­ments.

As for the US gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to levy a 25 per­cent tar­iff on im­ported steel, Jia said the steel prod­ucts that will be used in CRRC MA’s pro­duc­tion partly come from the US and partly from China. “The steel tar­iff has less of an im­pact on us,” he said.

Jia was speak­ing at a CRRC MA’s sup­plier diver­sity and pro­cure­ment fair on Thurs­day at its rail car man­u­fac­tur­ing com­plex in East Spring­field, Mas­sachusetts. The out­reach event was hosted by CRRC MA for lo­cal mi­nor­ity- and women-owned busi­nesses, which in­tro­duced the var­i­ous com­pa­nies in its supply chain to the many di­verse busi­nesses in the re­gion. Some 35 ven­dors were in­vited and about 300 peo­ple at­tended the fair.

The gather­ing would be the last so­cial event in the $95 mil­lion, 204,000 square-foot fac­tory be­fore pro­duc­tion be­gins.

Pro­duc­tion is planned to kick off on April 16 with the build­ing of new rail cars for the Orange Line of the Mas­sachusetts Bay Trans­porta­tion Au­thor­ity (MBTA).

In 2014, CRRC re­ceived a $566 mil­lion con­tract from MBTA to man­u­fac­ture 152 Orange Line cars and 132 Red Line cars.

Since sign­ing its initial con­tract with CRRC, the MBTA added a $277 mil­lion con­tract for an ad­di­tional 120 Red Line cars — a deal that in­cludes the op­tion to pur­chase 14 more cars.

The cars are sched­uled to en­ter ser­vice be­tween 2019 and 2023.

CRRC MA also has con­tracts to build cars for non-MBTA tran­sit sys­tems. Los Angeles has or­dered 64 new sub­way cars at a cost of $178.4 mil­lion, with an op­tion for 218 more be­gin­ning in 2021.

CRRC MA will also build 45 dou­ble-decker train cars for the South­east­ern Penn­syl­va­nia Tran­sit Au­thor­ity, Philadel­phia’s tran­sit sys­tem, for $137.5 mil­lion be­gin­ning in 2019.

CRRC has said it has enough or­ders now to keep the fac­tory run­ning smoothly through 2025.

“Ac­cord­ing to the con­tracts we have, the pro­duc­tion vol­ume will de­crease af­ter 2022. So we are ac­tively fight­ing for other con­tracts, in­clud­ing more cars for the MBTA, to en­sure the pro­duc­tion scale from 2022 to 2025 will be main­tained,” said Jia.

With 132 em­ploy­ees when pro­duc­tion be­gins, the plant has the po­ten­tial to ex­pand to 180 to 200 em­ploy­ees in 2021.

The salaries are be­tween $50,000 and $60,000, plus ben­e­fits, ac­cord­ing to Paul Gour, a busi­ness agent with In­ter­na­tional Brother­hood of Elec­tri­cal Work­ers Lo­cal 7.

“Jobs have been cre­ated in man­u­fac­tur­ing, I’m very thank­ful to CRRC,” said Spring­field Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.

The largest in­dus­trial in­vest­ment in Greater Spring­field in gen­er­a­tions, the new rail car man­u­fac­tur­ing com­plex was hon­ored as the state’s en­gi­neer­ing ac­com­plish­ment of the year ear­lier this month by the Amer­i­can Coun­cil of En­gi­neer­ing Com­pa­nies of Mas­sachusetts.

PAI / CHINA DAILY

CRRC MA’s an­nual sup­plier diver­sity and pro­cure­ment fair is held on Thurs­day at its rail car man­u­fac­tur­ing com­plex in East Spring­field, Mas­sachusetts. About 300 peo­ple at­tended the fair. zHOU

Jia Bo, vi­cepres­i­dent of China Rail­road Rolling Stock Corp (CRRC) MA Corp

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