Bucharest Municipality launched a public tender in order to purchase 100 new trams, whose deadline for submitting the offers was February 14, 2019. Although initially there were 20 companies interested in participating in the public tender, only 2 of them submitted the offers: Astra Vagoane Calatori in association with the Chinese company CRRC QINGDAO SIFANG CO. LTD, and the Turkish company Durmazlar Makina San Ve Tic AS. Astra needed this association to meet the eliminatory criterion related to the turnover which was established in the tender book (RON 280 million in each of the last three years, according to SICAP), and because the level of its annual production capacity wouldn’t have allowed it to meet the delivery term requested by the Municipality, the first delivery being required within 12 months since the approval of the production head. The winner of the tender will be announced no later than in August 2019. The 100 trams will operate on the routes 1, 10, 21, 25, 32, 40, 41 and 55. The estimated value of the contract is RON 845,68 million (EUR 180 million). The procurement is part of the 8 projects for which funding was requested from non-reimbursable EU funds through the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020 (2 projects being approved and contracted, while 6 of them are approved and they are in the period of contracting the funding), according to a press release issued by the Bucharest Municipality.
The requirements for the 100 trams are the most complex ones. With a length of 36m and at least 5 double doors, their floor will be completely lowered along the entire length of the vehicle, they will have a total capacity of 220 passengers, of which at least 56 seats. For people with disabilities who use wheelchairs, there will be a folding or sliding platform with manual drive, and 2 special seats will be provided at the closest double access door to the driving position. Also, supportive bars must be provided close to these places, as well as security devices, command and communication buttons, etc. The trams will have a low noise level, video surveillance installation, equipment for validating cards, being endowed with air conditioning equipment designed to ensure both air conditioning as well as passenger compartment heating. They will also benefit from video surveillance and Wi-Fi and online communication system. According to the tender book, bikers will have the possibility to climb their bikes in the new trams, which will have two seats to store them. The bikes will be carried with the help of a folding fastening system at the end of the vehicle, at the last double door. The lifetime of the tram must be of at least 30 years, according to the tender book.
One of the two companies that has submitted the offer for the tender organized by the Bucharest Municipality is Durmazlar Makina San Ve Tic AS. The basis of the Durmazlar Holding was founded in Bursa, the fourth biggest city in Turkey, where Ali Durmaz established Durmazlar Makina in 1956. Ali Durmaz had created a factory to produce factories – solely depending on his own know-how. It was not only about producing machines – it was about producing special machines catered to the needs of the customers. Durmazlar made the first exportation in the sector in 1975. It has started with producing lever shears and continued on to producing shearing machines and hydraulic bending presses.
Today, Durmazlar produces world-class machines in its three facilities, covering a vast 150 thousand square meters of indoors area, partnering with 80 distributors. The company has been exporting to 120 countries including Romania for approximately 20 years.
Durmaray, which is part of Durmazlar group, started the research in order to produce trams in 2009, the first tram being produced in 2015. Since that moment, 106 trams have been produced. If they win the tender, it would be one of the most important contracts of the company, as well as an expansion of their international deliveries. Durmazlar has already won a contract of EUR 40 million for the delivery of 24 trams for the Polish city of Olsztyn. The company takes into account an extended collaboration with our country. Abdullah Bocan, Railway Systems General Manager, announced that they are planning to participate, this summer, also in the tenders for the tram deliveries going to be organized by the Iasi, Timisoara, Braila and Craiova municipalities.
Last week, I travelled to Bursa for a press trip. I had the opportunity to visit two of the plants held by Durmazlar Holding here. What was the interesting thing that I found? I found that human resource is one of the main assets of the company, which is highly valued. Although they are endowed with industrial welding robots, for instance, for a higher precision for more complex operations, Durmazlar doesn’t reduce the number of employees, on the contrary, it constantly invests in their professional training. There is a welding school within the plant, where the future specialists of the company are trained for 3 to 6 months.
“Our greatest wealth is given by the people we are working with”, stated Huseyn Durmaz, Chairman of Durmazlar Makina San Ve Tic AS, one of the three children of the founder of the company located in Bursa.
Also here, I found out that an important component of the raw material, the metal used to produce trams, comes from our country, from ArcelorMitall Galati. I also found out that cables having a total length of 25 kilometers are used for a single tram.
Asked if the company will be able to perform all the deliveries if Durmazlar will win the tender in Bucharest, as well as the other four tenders to be organized soon in our country, as I mentioned before, Abdullah Bocan assured us that all the contracts will be executed on time and at the right quality.
While today the production capacity of the plant is of 8 trams per month, working in one shift, by the end of the year, the production capacity of the plant will double by the extension of its area by 80,000 sqm, as a result of an investment of approx. USD 50 million, made from own funds. Also, if necessary, work can be performed in more than one shift, according to the management of the company. The General Manager told us that the company is planning to continue its investments also in the R&D department. While there are 120 engineers currently working here, many of them having doctorates in their field of activity, when the plant will extend, the number of researchers will reach 200.
According to the Railway Systems General Manager, Durmazlar is preparing for two years for the contract with the Bucharest Municipality. Market research has been performed and discussions with the passengers, who are the end user of the trams, took place; they complained especially about the comfort of the current public transportation means in Bucharest. All these things have been carried out in order to submit a competitive offer which answers to the needs of the client. Bocan mentioned that the submitted offer was below the price offered by the Municipality.
“We hope we will win the tender in Bucharest. We have no reason to be ashamed and we don’t enter any dirty business. We have a discipline based on our experience of years, meeting the deadlines and the terms of quality, at good prices for our clients. Regardless the destination of our products, the quality is the same”, Huseyn Durmaz stated to the journalists who were present at the plant.
“All the quality checks, all the approvals and all the production are in line with the European standards. We make no difference between the countries in which we export our products. We produce parts and components for the Western companies who sell trams, so you will find Turkish components even at the trams made in the EU”, Abdullah Bocan also stated. “We propose a German quality at a much lower price”, he added.
According to the Business Development & Projects Manager of the company, Murat Corapcigil, the value of a tram is EUR 1.7 million, but the final price depends on the project. Each tram will leave the plant with its own name; for instance, the name of the tram that travels in Bursa is Silkworm. I am eager to find out what could be the name of the Bucharest tram if Durmazlar wins the tender.
Durmazlar offers a 30-year warranty for the contract with the Bucharest Municipality. Service can be provided remotely by the producer, via Internet connection. According to the tender book, the first tram must be delivered “in the 12th month after signing the contract”; it will be tested by the Municipality for three months; subsequently, four trams per month are going to be delivered, so that the total quantity will be delivered within two years. However, Bocan stated that from the producer’s point of view, the whole quantity of trams that is subject to the contract could be delivered in a much shorter term. The trams, each weighing 45 tons, will be mounted and ready-to-use before delivery, and they will be delivered with the help of some huge trucks; the transportation from Bursa to Bucharest will last one week.