n Indian Railway Construction Co is expected to be awarded a US $1·8bn, five-year contract to double-track and electrify KTM’s Ipoh - Padang Besar line in Malaysia, part of a counter-trade deal being negotiated by Minister of Primary Industries Dr Lim Keng Yaik involving the sale of palm oil to India. Ircon may win a similar deal to double Perumka’s Bojonegara - Surabaya and Aceh - Bakeheuni lines, according to Indonesian Minister of Trade & Industry Luhut Pandjaitanis.

n Rio Tinto subsidiary Pacific Coal has announced plans to develop the Hail Creek coal field, 85 km from Mackay in Queensland. Up to 5·5 million tonnes a year will move over a new 52 km rail link to QR’s Goonyella line, and then to Dalrymple Bay where an A$322m expansion of the coal terminal has been approved by the state government and awaits federal clearance.

n German Finance Minister Hans Eichel and his Chinese counterpart Xiang Xuaicheng visited the Transrapid construction site at Shanghai on May 24, the day after German Transport Minister Kurt Bodewig signed a technology co-operation agreement with the Chinese government in Beijing, offering assistance with developing a maglev option for the 1300 km Shanghai - Beijing high speed line.

n Danish shipping company Maersk-Sealand has announced plans to build an intermodal terminal at Lys