"Such massive rail infrastructure will open up new opportunities for the people in the east coast states by facilitating the creation of new jobs, stimulating industries and enhancing mobility."
Malaysia has called on US engineering company Aecom to provide engineering expertise to oversee the construction of crucial infrastructure on its latest rail network, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.
The Los Angeles-based company has been recruited by the China Communications Construction Company, the group managing the 425-mile line, to provide site supervision services for stations, viaducts, tunnels and depots. Speaking in reaction to the contract win, Aecom said it would enable it to tap into what it called its “strong local and international experience” in delivering transport infrastructure.
The ECRL is part of a plan by the Malaysian government to link Kuala Lumpur and Port Klang in the west of the Asian country with Pengkalan Kubor on the east coast that meets the border with Thailand. Construction on the line began on the ECRL in August 2017 and is due for completion in 2024, however exact details are yet to be released as to when Aecom will officially begin its involvement.
Aecom’s vice president for transport in Malaysia, Ailee Loh, said that the company looked forward to using the latest engineering approaches to bring the country’s east-west rail link to reality, while the country director at Aecom, Patrick Wong, was confident that the ECRL would bring increased prosperity.
“Such massive rail infrastructure will open up new opportunities for the people in the east coast states by facilitating the creation of new jobs, stimulating industries and enhancing mobility, in tandem with the growth that is being driven by the East Coast Economic Region initiative,” said Wong.
The end goal of the ECRL network is to serve all the main hubs of the east coast region, traversing Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and parts of Selangor, and be connected to Malaysia’s main rail network by the time it is completed in six years’ time. The company announced that it intended to use the project as a springboard to develop local rail industry talent in the region, creating leaders with expertise that will eventually be sought around the world.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Singapore, Japan is reportedly putting together a comprehensive bid to build the high speed line that will link Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, with the global financial centre. Bid submissions for the expected £11-13bn ($16-19bn) are required in around six months, with the eventual winner of the contract – which will include the training of the officials, operators and engineers in both countries – due to be announced at the end of 2018.
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