China’s CRRC Corp Bringing Jobs to Major U.S. Cities

In 2014, Beijing’s CRRC Corporation (the largest rolling stock manufacturer in the world), began what has amounted to nearly $ 3 billion of contracts to re-build American transit systems. Headquartered in Beijing with over 180,000 employees, the company has steadily gained ground in the U.S.

Recently CRRC has struck deals in Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles, with plans to invest in major production and assembly facilities. In Boston, plans call for a $ 60 million final assembly facility and test track at a former Westinghouse site Springfield, Massachusetts. In Chicago, it’s a $ 100 million manufacturing facility on the Southeast side. Lastly, in Los Angeles there will be a facility to manufacture major components, including propulsion and air conditioning.

The numbers are obviously astonishing, but the message that local authorities have given so far is that the company had the highest-rated technical offer and lowest price while offering the most robust local employment program and highest U.S. component content.

The first of the deals was with Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for Boston’s subway system. The $ 567 million project will build 58 cars by 2021. The design process has taken three years for the Orange Line and Red Line cars. The design will provide 15 more passengers per car, wider and electrically-operated doors, four accessible ADA-compliant areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC, automated passenger information, data recorders, and live CCTV capabilities.

In March 2017, CRRC signed a deal with the Chicago Transit Authority to produce up to 846 new rail cars. The $ 1.3 billion contract will revive rail car manufacturing in Chicago after a 50-year hiatus. The manufacturing facility on the Southeast side will be about 381,000 square-feet employing about 170 workers. According to a statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, CRRC will spend $ 7.2 million to train the local workforce. In a news release the Mayor said, “This new facility represents a major investment in Chicago that will bring economic development to the Southeast Side, while creating good-paying jobs for hundreds of workers.”

The most recent agreement, in late March 2017 was confirmed for the Los Angeles Metro by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACTMA). It came right before Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump met in Florida to discuss trade and investment between the two nations. The LA deal encompasses building 64 subway cars that will be worth as much as $647 million. The cars have already met Washington’s “Buy America” provisions requiring 60% of components to be made in the U.S. The first car is expected to be delivered in 2020 and completion of the project is expected by Fall 2021.

In totality, the world’s largest supplier of rail transit equipment is looking to improve technology innovation, upgrading capacity, and manufacturing platforms in the U.S. In an interview, Li Yongle (Vice President of CRRC Qingdao Sifang) said, “CRRC will support other project plans in the U.S., including projects for metro cars and high-speed trains.” CRRC will be helpful in developing local U.S. economies as well as the interconnectedness of various business hubs nationwide.