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Building infrastructure with India

Construction and infrastructure sector

India is looking for partners to help deliver its ambitious economic agenda, including a US$1 trillion commitment in 2017 to build infrastructure and 100 'Smart Cities'. With more than 70 per cent of Australians living in cities, our expertise in smart urban infrastructure sees Australia well placed to provide support. Some savvy Australian businesses are already reaping the benefits of being 'first movers' in road safety and railway design.

Driving success in road safety management

With one of the highest road fatality rates in the world, road safety is a major problem in India.

Since 2011, Australia's ARRB Group Ltd, widely recognised as an international leader in road safety and traffic management, has worked with India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on a national strategy to collect and develop the use of road safety data.

Having done ad hoc work in India for decades, business started to ramp up after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with India's International Road Federation.

"In 2011, we began a five-day training course that was so successful we now have an advanced six-week training course, covering modules from road safety audits to road safety engineering," Christina Chin, ARRB's International Business Manager for Research and Consulting said.

Communication is key to success in India

ARRB's National Technical Leader for Road Safety Infrastructure and Safe Systems Blair Turner says doing business in India can be challenging.

"It's a different environment to work in, but in road safety, even small improvements can have a noticeable impact," Mr Turner said.

Australian businesses thinking about exporting to India should be conscious of cultural differences.

"Your Indian partner's understanding of what has been said might be different to yours, so it's essential that the terms of doing business are well understood and have the same meaning for both parties."

A close relationship with Austrade can help a great deal, he says.

Modernising rail in India

Few countries in the world are more dependent on railways than India, which moves the equivalent of Australia's population by rail every day.

TTG Transportation Technology has worked in India intermittently for about 12 years, promoting energy-efficient rail transport and conducting successful trials on freight trains.

The Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India is transforming India's major rail freight infrastructure with a US$13 billion project to build 3 000 kilometres of double-track, freight-specific lines across India.

The projects are funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency and the World Bank.

TTG Transportation Technology provides energy-efficiency technology for these projects, helping Indian Railways double its capacity to carry rail freight more quickly, cheaply and reliably.

Locating opportunities in India

"Given its size, India is an obvious market for us to explore. However, it has a very complex rail network" TTG Managing Director Dale Coleman said.

"Invariably you're dealing directly with Indian Railways, which is a big institution. It's difficult to penetrate an organisation of that size and secure the relationships you need."

The tender was a two-step process – an expression of interest followed by a proposal. Coleman says the procedure was transparent and moved 'reasonably efficiently' through the World Bank approval process.

"We put in a very assertive bid," Mr Coleman said. "Price was important, but we had the best combined technical and financial score."

How to win business in India

Mr Coleman sees many opportunities for Australian companies in India's rail transport sector.

It is critical for Australian companies to know about potential business in India before a call for tenders. He is a strong advocate for using someone who understands local conditions to represent your interests.

"There are particular processes to doing business in India and you have to be mindful of them."

He adds that, "wherever you do business, you need to make people feel they can trust you. Companies that achieve such trust will do very well."

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Last Updated: 3 April 2017
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