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Turnkey rail transit solutions

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Founded in Italy over 100 years ago, Ansaldo STS has undergone several major structural changes throughout its existence. Several large-scale mergers and acquisitions fuelled its consolidation of resources and rapid expansion into overseas markets.

“This company has a long history, which makes us unusual when compared to our competitors. It gives us a strong edge,” emphasizes CEO Andy Barr. Ansaldo STS now boasts 40 regional offices in 26 countries, from Pittsburgh to Paris, while the company’s headquarters has remained firmly grounded in its birthplace of Genoa, Italy.

“Our company has been very successful in transferring our technology to the rest of the world from our home base in Italy,” explains Mr. Barr. Ansaldo STS has up to 900 projects at any one time, with support from its vast network of over 4,000 dedicated employees. The company went public in 2006 and is currently being traded on the Milan Stock Exchange.

Ansaldo STS became part of the Hitachi Group when Hitachi became the majority shareholder in 2015. Another major milestone was reached shortly thereafter with the appointment of Andy Barr as CEO of Ansaldo STS. Before becoming CEO in May of 2016, Mr. Barr had a twelve-year career at Hitachi’s UK office and was primarily responsible for its transportation branch. Ansaldo STS’s focus on research and development has since been reinvigorated.

“We are the highest-performing company in our sector, with an annual turnover in the region of 1.4 billion EUR,” adds Mr. Barr. “The key factor to our success is constantly exploring new and innovative technologies as well as new markets.”

Companies today face the challenge of keeping up with a rapidly globalizing world, especially in the land transportation sector. As part of its outreach program, Ansaldo STS frequents over 29 trade fairs, conferences, openings and conventions annually. The company retains its position at the forefront of this industry by building solid partnerships and developing bespoke transit solutions.

The automation of railway systems has become an attractive prospect for many governments and businesses looking to streamline their mass transit systems. The push towards minimizing operator error in public transport was spearheaded by a project in cooperation with the Copenhagen metro service nearly 20 years ago.

The city’s groundbreaking driverless 24/7 metro has been operated by Ansaldo STS since its inception, serving around 60 million passengers annually. Ansaldo STS’s driverless technology also serves many other cities around the world, for example Brescia, Rome, Milan, Taipei, Riyadh and Honolulu. In addition to its driverless systems, Copenhagen has also made strides to employ sensors that monitor railroad traffic so that timetables are updated in real time. This Ansaldo STS technology, developed jointly with Hitachi and known as dynamic headway, will be tested throughout Copenhagen’s rail systems next year.

 

The company’s leading position as a developer of automation technology is further exemplified by its partnership with an Australian freight company. Ansaldo STS’s team of engineers developed and implemented a system that could effectively control the pickup and delivery routes of trains using innovative satellite technology.

 

By 2018, these 2.5 km long trains will be fully operational, commuting to and from remote mines in Australia. In 2016 alone, Ansaldo STS had more than 30 projects commissioned, comprising 1,300 km of new lines and 190 stations worldwide.

The deliverables encompassed the installation of communications-based train control (CBTC) and automation technology in Turkey and China, and the fitting of high-speed lines in France, Italy and South Korea, in addition to the aforementioned freight line optimization in Australia. Moreover, new orders were up 10% in 2016, which included large-scale contracts to modernize the Glasgow metro, install CBTC technology on the Taipei metro, and lead the full automization of all Brussels metro lines, among other projects.

“When you look at the scope of Ansaldo STS’s projects across the globe, it is truly remarkable,” underlines Mr. Barr. “We attribute this success to five key factors: making use of advanced technology, finding innovative approaches to highly complex projects, having an international presence and global capability, ensuring system interoperability and efficiency, and compliance to rigorous safety and environmental standards.”

The latter point is particularly noteworthy in Ansaldo STS’s case, as public transport is widely held up as an opportunity to reduce the human population’s ever-growing carbon footprint. Recognizing this potential, Ansaldo STS is dedicated to maintaining transparency throughout its operations, voluntarily adhering to due diligence standards in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR). In this regard, the company has set a notable precedent with its annual publication of comprehensive sustainability reports, which detail various elements of Ansaldo STS’s commitment to sustainable governance.

In reference to the company’s environmental focus, Mr. Barr elaborated: “Our company views the environment as the fundamental resource to be protected for future generations, and we manage our activities accordingly, striking a healthy balance between people, planet and profit.”

In order to achieve this equilibrium, Ansaldo STS complies with local laws and regulations, as well as voluntary sustainability guidelines. By applying best practices in the field, the company continues to improve its environmental management in an economically effective manner.

“Employing this strategy already resulted in significant waste reduction during the 2014 to 2016 period,” notes Mr. Barr. “We are proud to say that water use was reduced by 25% per employee, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 5%, and electrical energy consumption was cut by around 12%.”

These figures can be partially attributed to Ansaldo STS’s push to incorporate renewable energy sources throughout its supply chain. Nearly 30% of its electrical energy comes from renewable sources. Furthermore, the company also recently added 34 new sustainability objectives to work toward in the near future.

Municipalities looking to boost shared value for their local communities have the possibility to do so in partnership with Ansaldo STS, which offers tailor-made transportation solutions according to its clients’ identified needs. The company is able to do so because of its management’s unfettered devotion to R&D, particularly in the field of social innovation.

Ansaldo STS’s R&D expenditure rose by nearly 12% in 2016 to a whopping 36.7 million EUR, resulting in 74 families of patents being issued in the same year. Another eight remain under review by the Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking – a public-private partnership initiative dedicated to enhancing the userfriendliness, efficiency and sustainability of European railway systems.

Through solid partnerships and a focus on innovation, Ansaldo STS has effectively launched the world’s most established form of rapid transit into the 21st century. From steam locomotives to electric- powered railway systems, this company bolstered the revolution toward future-oriented transportation alternatives, benefiting the public and private spheres alike.

With regard to the future of Ansaldo STS, Mr. Barr is steadfast in his commitment to leading the way in innovation. “I am proud of the global reach of our company,” he says. “This industry is so dynamic that it is important for us to create a business that thrives on challenges in terms of market outreach and technology in order to meet the expectations of our clients, communities and shareholders for years to come.”

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