A few days after being headed off by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp., the Montreal-based manufacturer of planes and trains announced Wednesday that it is carefully studying its options.
“There are various mechanisms that exist and we will analyze them one by one,” Bombardier spokesperson Marc-André Lefebvre said in a telephone interview. He did not disclose which mechanisms they were considering.
Bombardier was one of only two bidders for the coveted contract, which would see cars manufactured for the Candiac, Vaudreuil-Dorion and Saint-Jérôme lines. The Chinese company was selected because it was the lowest bidder.
Accordin to Caixin media, CCRC said it would build the cars for about $69 million, while the AMT had budgeted $103 million.
“The lowest price prevails,” AMT spokesperson Fanie Clément St-Pierre said.
Although dispute processes are generally available, it can be difficult for complainants, said David Pavot, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Université de Sherbrooke. “It has be proved that the process was flawed. It’s a huge job that will take a lot of resources from Bombardier to demonstrate there was a real problem in the process of awarding the contract.”
Last year, the AMT cancelled the tender for which Bombardier was the sole bidder, noting in particular the timetable for deliveries. It wanted to get the first cars within a maximum of 24 months, while Bombardier couldn’t do it in fewer than 30 months.
Even though the CRRC made a breakthrough in North America by rolling out rolling stock contracts in U.S. cities, the Chinese company has not yet delivered a car to the continent, argued Bombardier, which also points out that a delay of 36 months is required to obtain Transport Canada approval.
A formal letter of contract was sent to CRRC on May 11, at the annual Bombardier meeting. The Chinese giant will have 24 months — until spring 2019 — to deliver his first car starting June 15, when the contract officially comes into force.
“It’s nonsensical to think the deliveries will be made within the timeframe required by the AMT,” Lefebvre said.
Meanwhile, the agency’s spokesperson said there was “no concern” over the delivery schedule, adding the company had won orders elsewhere in North America.
Bombardier deplores, among other things, that the AMT has reduced the Canadian requirement to 15 per cent. The company proposed to include 67 per cent local content.
The construction of the train cars would not have been done at the La Pocatière plant in Bas-Saint-Laurent, Lefebvre said, as there is already an assembly line in Thunder Bay, Ont.
“Many parts would have been ordered in Quebec from local suppliers,” he said.
For its part, the La Pocatière union, affiliated with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux, did not wish to comment.