Australian suppliers get onboard with China rail

China’s rail construction boom means it will remain the world’s biggest rail market for at least another decade. ICN-Austrade trade missions are putting Australian firms on the right track.

It was only a matter of time before ICN’s long engagement with the international rail market would bring it to China.

The first ICN-Austrade mission, in March 2011, has helped secure immediate sales of $150 million.

The mission builds on a long history of ICN action in the rail sector, through its rail industry specialists and now through the newly launched ICN Rail Directory.

The ICN Rail Directory ( is a comprehensive matching service for the sector, listing over 1,500 suppliers and project managers.

One of ICN’s latest successes was in gaining New Zealand’s A&G Price the contract to supply NSW’s Waratah trains with high-quality cast steel brake components.

'The trains are high tech so our role is crucial', says Don Blue from A&G Price. 'Without ICN giving us the ‘leg in’, we wouldn’t have got the job. I make sure we stay close to ICN and keep them in the loop.'

The Waratah carriages are being assembled in China. Why? Because that’s where most of the world’s trains are now being built, both for China’s domestic market and for export.

ICN is working closely with the Australian Government Rail Supplier Advocate, Austrade and with the Australasian Railway Association to get more of that action.

The first mission took from 12 Australian companies delegates to Hong Kong in March 2011. Its focus was to develop relationships with executives from the HK Mass Transit Railway.

'This was an ideal opportunity to understand procurement processes and to get first hand advice on how best to approach the Chinese rail market,' notes ICN’s National Sector Manager - Rail, Tony Carney.

Attending companies registered onto HK Mass Transit Railways’ internal supplier system and were able to showcase their products and capabilities. They now receive Requests for Tenders directly– a major breakthrough in gaining access to opportunities.

Several were invited to send their products for trial, another foot in the door of this $32 billion market, with some finding requests for quotes and sales orders soon after their return home.

The 2012 Australian Rail Supplier Mission to China will be visiting allthe major centres of the Chinese rail industry and will give an even better chance for participants to see the state of innovation in China’s rail industry, and to develop the relationships and expertise needed to be part of its growth.

ICN is Australia and New Zealand’s innovative industry matchmaker. If you’re a major project developer, ICN can put you in contact with the best suppliers. If you’re a supplier we will connect you with the best projects for your business.