PENANG: Leading integrated rolling stock and rail services company Hartasuma Sdn Bhd has secured the design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) project for the Penang cable car project in Penang Hill with a RM250 million investment via a public private partnership (PPP) initiative with the Penang state government.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who is also chairman of Penang Hill Corp, made the announcement during a press conference earlier on Dec 14. The call for request for proposal (RFP) to solicit the best proposal for the Penang Hill cable car service commenced on Jan 13, 2021, and extended to Nov 30, 2022 due to the pandemic.

Hartasuma will own the concession for this tourist attraction over the next 30 years, where it will be responsible for the BDFOT throughout the period. The project is expected to take three years to complete and be operational.

Hartasuma is partnering Austria-based Dopplemayr Group for this project. Dopplemayr is a global market leader in the manufacture of ropeways and people movers, having built more than 15,100 installations for customers in 96 nations.

“We are extremely honoured and pleased to have been awarded this project by the Penang state government. We share the same aspiration with the Penang government, which is to create unique and prestigious tourism destinations within Penang. We look forward to getting to work and make this project happen within the time frame,” said Hartasuma executive director Tan Sri Ravindran Menon.

For the Penang cable car project, the cable car system will have a capacity of 1,000 passengers per hour at a speed of six metres per second, using 43 gondola cabins. There will be a total of 15 towers along the line, and the journey time from lower to upper station will take 10 minutes.

Notably, this alignment will be situated on state land and will avoid any private land acquisition.

“We re-iterate our commitment towards preservation and conservation of the environment,” said Ravindran.

Furthermore, Ravindran added that this alignment ensures that disruptions to the users of Botanical Gardens during construction and operations are minimized.

Ravindran said that during the construction stage, all the mitigation measures spelt out in the environmental impact assessment report will be implemented to ensure minimal disruptions to the environment and the operations of the buildings and cable car systems will incorporate best practices in environmental and sustainability management.

Doppelmayr is no stranger to the Malaysian transportation landscape, having developed the Langkawi cable car project as well as the recently upgraded Penang funicular railway.