Railway Industry Scoring Success Abroad
Marie Vopálenská, Executive Director, Association of Czech Railway Industry e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Czech Republic has a railway transport system built as an economically attractive and environmentally friendly alternative to road transport. Companies associated in the Association of Czech Railway Industry (ACRI) currently employ more than 22 000 people in the Czech Republic. Their annual turnover exceeds the EUR 2.8 billion mark, of which exports account for 42%. With their business activities they contribute significantly to the country’s employment and the creation of gross domestic product.
The World’s Densest Railway NetworkThe Czech Republic has one of the densest railway networks worldwide. This fact derives from historical developments. Railway transport and the railway industry have a very long tradition in what is today the Czech Republic, indeed one of the longest in Europe. The current growth of railway transport is boosted by growing demand on the domestic market and primarily by a number of export deals mediated by ACRI. In 2007, ACRI members showed a 15% year-on-year increase in revenues (24% in 2006). In 2007, exports accounted for 42% of their total revenues, in comparison with 30% in 2003. These figures indicate that the foreign deals of our companies are an important factor in boosting the growth of the railway industry.
Growing Productivity of LabourThe revenues of the companies in the railway industry are growing in relation to the number of employees This is evidence of their higher performance and higher productivity of labour, and consequently of the companies’ competitiveness. These results and facts are positive signals and at the same time evidence of the competitiveness of the railway industry as a whole. A suitable combination of investments in transport in the Czech Republic with possibilities of targeted support of the sector will create conditions for further economic and export growth. The vision is a profit-making, flexible and high technically advanced sector that participates actively in employment, economic growth and the development of the transport system in the Czech Republic and worldwide.
Export Achievements of Czech CompaniesThe largest exporter among member companies is Bonatrans Group a.s., which exports 95% of its output to more than 70 countries the world over. For example, the most remote states, where wheels from Bohumín carry passenger trains, are New Zealand and Australia. Extreme elevation differences are surmounted by trains on Czech wheels on the railway line to Tibet. Here, the Bohumín wheels have achieved their height record, which is 5 072 metres above sea level. On the other hand, they carry Euroshuttle trains under the English Channel. To complete the list of Bohumín’s achievements, mention should be made of high-speed transport, which is currently much in the focus. Wheels supplied by BONATRANS GROUP a.s. helped set a new speed record, which was broken by the Siemens Taurus locomotive, and which is 357 km/h. The fastest trains are the ICE2 high-speed express trains in Germany.
Further AchievementsOther member companies, too, are doing well in foreign markets. AŽD Praha s.r.o., a leading Czech manufacturer and supplier of signalling and interlocking systems, for example, stood the test of strong international competition and was chosen to install modern control and safety systems on a 100-km section of Lithuania’s Kaunas-Kybartai rail corridor. BORCAD cz supplies seats for the Swiss manufacturer Stadler to be used in FLIRT sets. In a matter of four months they developed a special seat, which met the demanding requirements of a really discerning customer. At the same time they obtained an order from Newag for the reconstruction of couchette cars for PKP Intercity. CZ LOKO a.s. has modernised diesel locomotives for Italian goods trains and built shunting locomotives for Serbia. Tramcars manufactured by ŠKODA TRANSPORTATION will cruise the streets in Wroclaw, Poland, and Latvia’s capital Riga. The company’s tramcars are already plying the roads in Cagliari, Italy.
Integrated European Railway AreaOne of the main aims of the transport policy of the EU, and that of the Czech Republic, is the creation of an integrated European railway area that will make it possible for freight and passenger transport to use the advantages of Europe without frontiers, i.e. travelling without changing trains in a competitive environment. This concept also provides for a system, where freight carriers will be able to transport products very quickly across all Europe.
One of the main setbacks for the creation of such an area is lack of technical and operating harmonisation. Different technical and operating standards among EU member states often make it necessary to change locomotives at the frontiers, especially in the case of freight trains, which means higher costs, longer travelling time and undeterminable precision.
Tradition Is ContinuingThe development of the railway industry is closely linked with the development of railway transport on the European and indeed world scale. Czech companies are prepared to participate in the growth of transport engineering so as to meet the demand of railway carriers. This opens up possibilities of continuing the tradition of our companies and carry on the development of this branch of industry.
Association of Czech Railway Industry
ACRI is an organization associating companies active in the rail supply industry in the Czech Republic. Companies associated in ACRI currently employ more than 22 000 people in the Czech Republic. Their total annual turnover is more than EUR 2.8 billion, of which exports account for more than 40%. ACRI is a national member of the European Railway Industry Association (UNIFE).