Shenzhen Metro line on the right track
The Shenzhen Municipal Government has budgeted US$94 million to purchase overseas equipment for the city's new 14.85 kilometre metro line.
The allotment, which represents only a fraction of the 8.01 billion yuan (HK$7.47 billion) that will be used to build and outfit the subway, is in accordance with strict national guidelines requiring all future urban rail projects to limit overseas equipment purchases to less than 30 per cent of the total.
'We are eager to use parts and equipment purchased domestically, with a few key exceptions,' said Zhang Jiashi, chief engineer for the Shenzhen Metro Company.
The mainland is in the process of lifting a 1995 ban on new subway projects, paving the way for State Planning Commission approvals for at least a handful of the 26 cities that have proposed new inner-city railways.
The government instituted the suspension as costs for line construction in Guangzhou and Shanghai soared to 700 million to 800 million yuan per kilometre, due mainly to the high price for equipment purchased overseas and premiums paid for acquiring inner-city land.
Per kilometre construction costs at Shenzhen, by comparison, are expected to be limited to 550 million yuan, due to the use of domestically manufactured equipment and the comparatively lower land prices, Mr Zhang said.
Shenzhen vice-mayor Wang Ju characterised the national guidelines as 'reasonable and mature'.
'In recent years, joint ventures [have started operations] with advanced technology that allow construction of most metro equipment domestically,' Mr Wang said.
Shenzhen's Number One subway line, which broke ground in December, is due to be completed in December, 2003.