Bombardier CEO decries lack of local-production requirement in VIA deal

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MONTREAL — Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare is miffed about VIA Rail Canada’s contract with Siemens for new equipment, saying it is “incomprehensible” that there was no requirement for local production to protect Canadian companies and jobs.

“We work in many countries around the world, and all countries require significant local content,” Bellemare told reporters, according to a Bloomberg article. “We see it in the U.S. It’s difficult to understand that here, we can’t find ways of protecting innovation, technology and jobs that are similar to all the other countries in the world.’’

VIA announced on Wednesday that Siemens would build 32 new trainsets for service on the Quebec City-Windsor, Ont., corridor, beating out Canada’s Bombardier and two other companies. [See “VIA Rail Canada, Siemens announce deal for new corridor equipment,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 13, 2018]

VIA cited on-time delivery as a reason for the selection, but Bellemare defended his company’s ability to fulfill orders despite missed deadlines on a Toronto light rail project and past delays on a New York subway contract.

“We’ve had a few production problems on some projects, which I began fixing in 2015, and we’re completely fixing them today in 2018,’’ he said in the Bloomberg report. “So for me, this is really not a justification to decide for a C$1 billion project.’’

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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