Skip to comments.[Red] Chinese road builder trips up on European project
Posted on 06/05/2012 7:34:32 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
SKIERNIEWICE, Poland -- Chinese companies have wowed the world with superhighways, high-speed trains and snazzy airports, all built seemingly overnight. Yet a modest highway through Polish potato fields proved to be too much for one of China's biggest builders.
The A2 highway between Warsaw and Berlin was supposed to be an opportunity for Chinese construction to shine on a European stage after years of megaprojects at home and in the developing world. Poland badly wanted the project completed before the European soccer championships starting June 8, which Poland is hosting for the first time with Ukraine.
Instead, a key 30-mile (48km) stretch of the road fell victim to poor planning, strict regulations, higher than expected costs -- and, in small part, frogs.
It remains unfinished nearly three years after contracts were awarded to Chinese builders. The Polish government is warning there will be detours around the highway's "Chinese sections" when the soccer championships begin.
"The Chinese company, in my opinion, was not well prepared to handle a contract," Leszek Szczepaniak, an engineer in charge of monitoring the highway construction for Poland's government, said.
Chinese officials and the primary project contractor, Beijing-based China Overseas Engineering Group, also known as Covec, did not respond to requests for comment.
The project raises questions about Beijing's strategy of pitching state-directed construction firms as the low-cost solution to the world's infrastructure needs. Premier Wen Jiabao recently cited the "mutual benefit" of a Chinese role in US infrastructure construction.
In Warsaw in April, Wen announced a $10 billion credit line to fund infrastructure, technology and energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
A Chinese company is supplying replacement spans for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, and another has a joint venture with an American partner that is refurbishing New York City's Alexander Hamilton Bridge for $407 million.
When Chinese construction firms work at home or in Africa, the jobs are often monumental but subject to little regulatory oversight. In the two US bridge projects, meanwhile, Chinese builders worked with US partners and had more limited roles.
For the Polish highway, by contrast, Covec was hired to manage
The French are in on this too?
China meets real quality control enforcement - I’ll bet they were dumbfounded!
The ChiComs are used to paying off African officials for a rubber stamp.
The ChiComs were also shocked to learn that they could not use slave labour.
Covec officials appeared to have overlooked some crucial requirements for the project, according to Polish regulators, including 3-foot-tall passageways beneath highways to allow frogs and other small animals to cross the road's path safely. These tunnels are standard in Europe, but during a 2010 site visit, Covec's top executives, accompanied by the Chinese ambassador, seemed astonished to learn of the legal requirements.
I'd say this here is another reason why European prices for almost anything are about double the US prices, and many Europeans can earn back the cost of a New York City (!) vacation just by loading up with sundries stateside to bring back home.
Nail on the head. Unable to find to whom it goes to, when to give it and how much to put in the "red envelope."
The ChiComs have a deal with Sen. Harry Reid and Nevada Clark County to build a solar panel plant and generating facility on 6000 acres at Laughlin, NV.
The commies bragged about $5 billion available. Personally, I think it was just PR for Harry. Since the ground breaking took place the day after Solyndra went bust, it did not get much press.
The proposal I saw was for a solar panel plant, not a generating facility. For now, I think solar is dead in the water - costs are too high in an era of austerity, given that every power generation facility requires a hefty ongoing subsidy and large amounts of free land. I suspect most pols would prefer to keep government employees employed (and their votes locked up) rather than prop up a private sector boondoggle of dubious longevity that doesn't employ all that many people, anyway.
I am a resident of Clark County. My brother-in-law is a State Senator( R-Dist. 14) who was at the ground breaking.
The ChiComs have claims for 6000 acres down there for a solar array of their locally produced (supposedly) solar panels. The plan also includes a housing development for 15,000.
The politics of the deal are widespread. Laughlin, now a county township, is trying to incorporate to include the facility. Clark County would like to keep all the taxes for themselves. The state legislature must decide.
The Communist Chinese have nothing but a commitment for the land use. No contracts for energy transmission, no obligations for electricity generated, nothing but a photo op.
From my perspective, the whole deal is bogus.
Must be a treat of sorts, having a ringside seat at the circus. Thanks for the update on the shenanigans...