TOKYO -- Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced on Thursday that it has started shipping railcars that will serve Dhaka's first-ever mass rapid transit (MRT) system.
Kawasaki Heavy has shipped the first of 24 trains from the Japanese port of Kobe to Bangladesh.
The rolling stock will be handed over to Dhaka Mass Transit Company Limited, which oversees the operation and maintenance of the MRT system in the capital city.
In collaboration with Japanese trading house Mitsubishi, Kawasaki Heavy had received an order from the operator for 144 railcars for 24 trains along with depot equipment. The total contract comes to about 40 billion yen ($373 million).
The first train will arrive at the depot in Dhaka in April and start operating in March 2022 after undergoing maintenance and testing. The rest will be delivered in sequence with all cars scheduled to start operation by December next year.
They will run on MRT Line-6, which has a total length of about 20 kilometers and connects the center of Dhaka with areas to the north and south. It marks Bangladesh's first MRT to transport a large number of passengers as a commuter train.
The carriages are made of lightweight and durable stainless steel with security cameras installed inside and outside. They are equipped for the hot and humid local climate with two large-capacity air conditioners installed in each car. In addition to MRT Line-6, another four MRT routes are currently planned in Dhaka. Kawasaki Heavy hopes to receive further vehicle orders.
With the South Asian country's rapid economic growth and urbanization, demand for railway infrastructure, including rolling stock, is expected to continue expanding.