China Railway Group eyes South African link

By Chris Sleight25 August 2010

China Railway Group is reported to be in discussions with the South African government over the construction of a US$ 30 billion high-speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban.

If the scheme goes ahead the 556 km link between South Africa's largest city and the eastern port city of Durban would reduce journey times from the current five- to seven-hour drive to less than three hours by train. The South African government announced in April that it was studying the feasibility of the scheme.

China Railway Group chairman Li Changjin has told local media in South Africa that the company has secured some funding for the scheme from Standard bank, on of South Africa's largest financial institutions. Chinese state-owned banks are also expected to provide loans to the scheme if China Railway Group is involved in its construction.

Mr Li's comments were made on the fringes of a China-Africa investment conference in Beijing. The event also saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding between China and South Africa on 'railway-related matters'.

China Railway Group is the world's second largest construction company according to the 2010 edition of iC's league table of the world's largest contractors. It is second to domestic rival China Railway Construction Corporation.

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