Mr. Bedy Kharisma, Global Market Research Specialist, Indonesia
Mr. Bedy Kharisma is a young researcher in the Rolling Stock domain and presently working as Manager at PT Industri Kereta Api (Persero) which is the first integrated railway manufacturer in Southeast Asia. He is the winner of "Young Researcher of the Year Awards 2020" at Rail Infra and Mobility Business Digital Awards 2020. In a recent interaction with Urban Transport News, Mr. Bedy shares his thoughts on the future of the Global Rolling Stock Market and how will the "new normal" help the industry to achieve the desired goals in the upcoming years.
Well, thank you for choosing me to receive such an award. I am much honored. The journey started when I joined PT INKA (Persero), an Indonesian State-Owned company specializing in manufacturing various rolling stock types. They have exported their products since 1991 and has developed since then in terms of product, technology, and market. There was a position to join the company in a newly formed department, the market research department. Even though many offers have come to me as a business analyst, management of change, and else, it was an easy choice to join them for several reasons. First, I think it is time for me to give back to my country; having the earlier years of my career, I always dedicated myself to several multinational companies. And second, it is near my home town. So yeah, since then, the journey began.
As a rolling stock manufacturer industry, there is no other option except to go global and widen its market share. Depending on the local or national market is definitely not an option. Therefore, since the first day of my career in this market research sector, I set my mindset to have a global perspective. Having that mindset in mind always forced me to find an international reference. SCI was my inspiration back then. In the first year of my career, I concluded that PT INKA (Persero) should have a place in the global market share. And to justify that, I need to look up for an international consultancy company that gathers and analyzes the same thing: the global market share of the rolling stock market industry. And my guess was right. Based on the SCI report PT INKA (Persero) is the fifth-largest passenger coaches globally.
The question that often arises in the rolling stock industry is the expected price for a specific rolling stock product. DR. Piers Connor stated the same problem on his website. And then, I encourage myself to send him an email, saying that this methodology that I offer may solve the question. And the feedback from him was positive. And other positive feedbacks were not only coming from him. Knowing the rolling stock price will help a rolling stock manufacturer gain insight to win the market share and keep their product competitive. It is also beneficial for the operator. They could understand to allocate a standard budget to acquire certain types of rolling stock. A consultancy firm will surely help them answer many questions in depth regarding rolling stock price. And not just that, from the dashboard that I build, it is possible to know the trends of this industry, its market shares, distribution, and else.
Covid-19 has some severe impact on the rolling stock industry. The rolling stock industry is an industry characterized to transport six people in each meter square in normal condition. While during the pandemic, physical distancing requires that the distance between people standing must be at least 1.5m. Being so will seriously affect the railway operator and severely injured the industry that backs them up, including the rolling stock manufacturer. The number of new rolling stock ordered has dwarfed to less than 20% YoY from the data I gathered. Not sure if it will bounce back in a V shape or a U shape. And considering the effect of covid-19, the bounce will be likely to be different between rail passenger and rail freight. Hence, the impact of covid-19 will vary on the manufacturer’s specialization.
I hope that we all could see a bounce in 2021, at least an indication that the market will bounce back. In terms of rail transport performance, SCI states an optimistic forecast said that the worldwide railway market would grow by 2.2% per year in 2024. But this does not necessarily reflect the same in the investment of the new rolling stock market. The railway operators lack a considerable amount of money for ongoing operations and even more necessary investment. With the reduction of customer's buying power, rolling stock manufacturers' recovery will still lay low.
We all know that the rolling stock market industry's landscape has changed much in this decade; China has put itself into the biggest rolling stock manufacturer worldwide, dismissing European rolling stock manufacturers' domination. And this threatens to change the industry's landscape as we know it. Many attempts to topple the giant from the throne, a merger between Siemens and Alstom, have failed; who knows that Alstom and Bombardier's merger may succeed and topple the giant down? Looking at the historical market share, if we combine Alstom and Bombardier's market share, it will indeed outperform the Chinese manufacturer market share. However, that excludes the pandemic effect. If the pandemic stays a while, the railway passengers are still prone to suffer. And at the same time, the freight wagon market may remain constant. Thus, those who acquire the capacity to produce railway freight at its most will win the competition.
Perhaps, many have heard this saying before. “We are not in the same boat, but we are in the same storm.” This pandemic has given us a chance to stand tall as a human being, an opportunity to prove that we can conquer this situation together. This is a chance to reflect on our core competencies, realizing which one is important and what’s not. It may not the time to expand; barely surviving this period is a triumph on its own. We all hoping that this will end soon; before it happens, be kind and stay safe.