SYSTRA and SNTF have undertaken to set up an Algerian joint venture dedicated to rail systems engineering
As part of the October 26 meeting of the French-Algerian Economic Joint Committee (COMEFA) a memorandum of understanding was signed between SYSTRA and SNTF in the presence of Laurent Fabius, French foreign and international development minister, and Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Algerian Industry and Mines minister. The MOU provides for the creation of a joint venture under Algerian law to conduct studies, monitor and control rail systems projects in Algeria. The company will be 49% owned by SYSTRA and 51% by SNTF.
“Yacine Bendjaballah, CEO of SNTF, and myself share the same commitment to this project which should very quickly lead to the emergence of a leading Algerian player in the field of rail systems engineering. We are delighted with this agreement, another stage in the cooperation between SNTF and our group,” said Pierre Verzat, Chairman of SYSTRA’s executive board. “The new company, whose fields of expertise will cover signalling, telecommunications, electrical traction and operational engineering, will further accelerate achievement of the ambitious targets for the Algerian rail network, including among other projects the deployment by 2020 of a latest-generation rail network and equipment,” he added.
Through their joint venture, SNTF and SYSTRA will develop local engineering skills with a strong “systems” technology component, essential to complete the demanding development and modernisation programme for a rail network that is planned to grow from 4,000 km to 12,000 km in the next 10 years. A joint venture closely tied to rail operator SNTF will make it possible to meet these demands by drawing on local resources and to develop Algerian know-how in the key fields of rail electrification and signalling. Around thirty Algerian engineers will be recruited and trained. Experience acquired in similar projects has shown just how closely railway systems engineering is linked to operational issues and why it needs to remain in the operator’s hands, ensuring quicker progression from the upstream design phases of projects to the downstream phases of monitoring and project management.
As well as ensuring prompt completion, the synergy of the new joint venture should allow better control of engineering expenses which will from now on be handled locally with the direct creation of some fifty highly qualified jobs.
“This MOU forms part of the engineering plank of the broader agreement signed by SNCF and SNTF on 10 September, which set the framework for cooperation between the two groups. I welcome the commitment of Chairman Guillaume Pepy and the effective support given by Minister Boujema Talaï”, added Pierre Verzat.