Despite the interest from the Chinese manufacturers in producing trains for the Portuguese railway, CP, there are still no Chinese trains operating in Europe, which disqualifies them for CP's contest.
Comboios de Portugal, the Portuguese railway company, organized an international contest, as it aims to increase the company’s train fleet, but the Chinese can’t qualify for the race as they have no trains operating in the European Union yet. The contest requires the manufacturers to have previous experience supplying this type of motors, in the last five years, in at least one of the EU’s member-states, which rules out the Chinese manufacturer China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC).
The candidates are also “obliged to comply with the quality certificate ISO 9001”, according to Público, a Portuguese newspaper. Among the companies which are out of the race, there is special attention being given to CRRC, as it is, jointly with Thales, applying for the new Lisbon subway lines.
“We have no doubt that the new set of specifications for CP’s contest were designed ultimately to ward off, on purpose, any Chinese manufacturer — which, by the way, are now at the same level of performance if compared with European train manufacturers, but presents lower prices”, a CRRC consultant told Público. He added that the ” European railway industry’s lobby is way too heavy when it comes to Portugal”.
CRRC will supply the Czech Republic, after winning the contest against Alstom. This is a milestone for the Chinese company, as this will be the first time its trains will be circulating on European rails. The company is trying to enter the European market, and it has already supplied the London subway and the Deutsche Bahn.