MTR fears going off rail on Belt

Top News | Dominique Nguy 18 May 2017

MTR Corporation Limited (0066) chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang said yesterday the company will be very cautious in assessing the risks and returns of projects related to the "One Belt, One Road" initiative.

He said some countries along Belt and Road routes are developing and may present political risks to some investments and that the company will be careful.

Overall, however, the Belt and Road initiative will bring many opportunities to MTRCL, he said, and many countries are keen on inviting it to participate in infrastructure projects.

"It is difficult to quantify the benefits of the Belt and Road initiative at present, but there will definitely be opportunities," said Ma.

MTRCL is, for him, among the pioneers in overseas expansion as it already has operations in Britain, Sweden and Australia.

Ma said if China Railway decides to bid for the express rail project between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, MTR Corp will have a role to play.

"Many Belt and Road countries are interested in sending people to study at the MTR Academy to learn about management and operation of railways," said Ma. "This is another way that the company can support the initiative."

Ma said the government is considering granting operational rights for the Hong Kong section of the express rail link to MTRCL. He hopes for a decision soon as time is needed to hire and train staff.

Ma said the company has announced that the Sha Tin-Central link would run over budget significantly and the actual figure will be revealed in the second half.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said yesterday 31 high speed train drivers have completed training and assessments.

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