SOUTH KOREA: Following a review of the structure of the national railway, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure & Transport has put forward plans for the restructuring of Korail as a holding company.

MOLIT has also set out ambitions for the rail supply industry to replicate the success of the country’s shipbuilding and automotive sectors.

The restructuring plans were to have been announced on June 14, but the event was cancelled as a result of protests by union members opposed to privatisation.

The proposals would see a Korail subsidiary created this year to operate new KTX high speed train services which are scheduled to be launched in 2015. This subsidiary would compete against Korail’s existing KTX business. The plan replaces previous proposals for the new services to be operated by the private sector.

A freight subsidiary would be established in 2014, followed by repair and maintenance businesses in 2015 and 2017. Korail would then become a holding company for the various subsidiaries.

Under the industrial plans, MOLIT would adapt laws, provide R&D funding and encourage co-operation between industry, researchers and the public sector projects to ‘nurture’ at least three valuable railway enterprises, aiming to create 1 000 jobs and a ‘global railway powerhouse’ by 2017.