Paris, January 5, 2008
[*Q. – The autumn was a great period for French exports in the transport sector…*]
THE MINISTER – We are indeed in a favourable period. As regards the TGV (high-speed train), Alstom is finalizing a contract in Argentina for a line between Buenos Aires and Cordoba and having discussions in Italy on her new high-speed electric railcar (AGV) between Rome and Naples. Underground and tram systems aren’t lagging behind, since the RATP [Paris Transport Authority] is to run and maintain the Algiers metro [for the first few years of its operation]. On its side, Alstom will provide the fully automated system for Shanghai metro’s line 10 and the tramway systems for Oran and Constantine.
[*Q. – Is France particularly highly rated for certain types of transport?*]
THE MINISTER – She’s successful in all of them and that’s the basis of her strength worldwide. We have many globally powerful groups. Veolia is Europe’s leading private public transport operator. Keolis, the subsidiary of the SNCF [French national railway company], is active all over the world and Transdev [leading operator of urban public transport systems in France and Europe and of tram services in the world] is expanding its international activities. In the air sector, we obviously have Airbus and the Dassault group. For sea transport, CMA-CGM is ranked third in the world for container shipping. Nevertheless, it’s true that we’ve long had a very high reputation in the rail sector: we sold the first non-Russian locomotives for use on the trans-Siberian network, hold the world rail speed record and are today making our mark as specialists in network management. (…)
[*Q. – Where are the big markets of the future?*]
THE MINISTER – A lot is happening in China, and Jean-Louis Borloo, ministre d’Etat [senior minister], and I are obviously looking closely at the high-speed line projects, particularly the Shanghai-Beijing line. But tomorrow’s big market could be India, where there’s a major expansion of urban transport, particularly the underground (Delhi, Bombay, etc.), and also high-speed line projects which French companies are working on. Finally, the United States is rediscovering public transport, which for us is a source of tremendous opportunities. There’s a high-speed line project in California, but the TGV is just as pertinent in Texas and Florida./.