SNC-Lavalin Group has announced that it is to withdraw from the lump-sum turnkey contracting market. It intends to fulfil current contractual obligations, including the Montréal REM metro project. 'Lump-sum, turnkey projects have been the root cause of the company’s performance issues', said Interim President & CEO Ian L Edwards on July 22. 'By exiting such contracting and splitting it off from what is otherwise a healthy and robust business, we are tackling the problem at the source, and as a result we expect to see a material improvement in the predictability and clarity of our results.'

Russian Railways and the Russian government have signed an agreement of intent for the development of ‘high-tech quantum communications‘, RZD announced on July 11. A roadmap for development will be drawn up, with work to be ‘based on the principles of market relations and openness to international co-operation while respecting national interests.‘ RZD said it was implementing a digital transformation strategy including upgrading its network of more than 70 000 km of optic fibre communication links.

The International Federation of Consulting Engineers has signed what it called a ‘ground-breaking’ two-year memorandum of understanding with the China International Contractors Association. This aims to improve collaboration between international and Chinese businesses, facilitate skills and knowledge transfer and increase understanding and use of FIDIC contracts. The MoU agrees a number of areas for collaboration, including information exchange; encouraging Chinese contractors to use quality-based selection, and working together on the Belt & Road Initiative.

Aviva has reached financial close on a €1·45bn debt raise undertaken by leasing company Beacon Rail to refinance existing facilities and to support growth. Aviva Investors provided a combination of euro and sterling debt of equivalent to €60m to support the financing from a variety of client mandates. ‘This transaction builds upon our strong rail credentials and delivers further diversification to our transport portfolio within both the UK and European markets and, importantly, supports social connectivity and economic growth’, said Sinéad Walshe, Infrastructure Director at Aviva Investors, on July 18.

South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport is to purchase rolling stock components from domestic SMEs, with a view to replacing imports and enabling local suppliers to demonstrate proven products to potential export customers.

United Rail has acquired the assets of ticketing and tours companies Key Holidays and Key Tours International, which offer rail and cruise services. The Reno Fun Train and Sierra Scenic Train operations are to be re-branded as Reno Xpress.

Dyer Engineering has obtained EN15085 accreditation for its fabrication and welding capabilities. The UK company supplies components including battery boxes and rafts, deflector and bracket assemblies, damper brackets, dead weights, couplers, door components, steps and electronic equipment enclosures to customers including Alstom, Bombardier, Hitachi, Nexus and Vivarail.

The Railway Industry Association has joined the UK Department for International Trade’s Transport Services Expert Trade Advisory Group, one of a number of panels that will advise the government on trade with non-EU countries. ‘The coming years are a vital time for UK trade policy’, said RIA Exports Director Neil Walker. ‘Rail, which already exports some £800m million in goods and services, could play an even bigger role with the right trading environment and approach to international markets. It is essential that – as new Free Trade Agreements are negotiated – rail’s export offer is considered.’

The Ural Locomotives joint venture of Siemens and Sinara reported on July 24 that it had renewed its ISO/TS 22163, ISO 14001 and ISO 45000 certification for its Yekaterinburg manufacturing facility, after an external audit confirmed compliance with international quality management standards. The company’s regional outposts in Kaliningrad and Babayevo have been included in the scope of the certificate of compliance for the first time.

Infrastructure consultancy Amey has opened a design hub in Cardiff, where civil engineers and designers will work on a range of projects from road and rail design to data analysis and asset management.