Melbourne: More than 250 Victorian SMEs will attend an industry briefing hosted by Downer to promote contract opportunities for local businesses on the $2.3 billion High Capacity Metro Trains Project.

Evolution Rail, comprising of Downer, CRRC Changchun and Plenary, is partnering with the State of Victoria on the HCMT project to build Melbourne’s next generation metropolitan train fleet.

Today, Downer held the first of three ‘Meet the Buyer’- style industry briefings in partnership with the Industry Capability Network Victoria to highlight potential contract opportunities for local suppliers.

As part of the delivery of the new trains, a depot is being constructed by Downer in Pakenham East. The depot will include maintenance facilities, a stabling yard and a train simulator, and will have the flexibility to cater for the future train maintenance needs of the network.

Hundreds of potential HCMT suppliers attended today’s event to promote work packages on the depot build. Two additional events targeting local suppliers for the train fleet will be held next week.

Sergio Cinerari, the Chief Executive Officer, Downer Infrastructure Services, said the depot build will achieve 87 per cent local content delivering an invaluable boost to local industry and business.

“Maximising work for local business is a key objective of the HCMT procurement process,” he said.

“Downer understands the challenges and opportunities for Victorian manufacturers in the global economy.

“This is why we are working with SMEs across Victoria to build a robust and sustainable local supply chain capability and promote contract opportunities on the HCMT project.”

Mr Cinerari said the HCMT project will deliver 1,100 highly-skilled jobs, including more than 100 long-term jobs at the new depot.

A depot ICN Gateway page is now live and currently lists 10 work packages for expressions of interest from potential local suppliers. A similar page will soon go live for fleet procurement. In addition, the webpages will be used to promote successful contractors to enable SMEs to seek downstream sub-contracting opportunities. The Depot ICN webpage address is www.hcmtdepot.icn.org.au.