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Bombardier Transportation has launched a major investment and hiring plan to boost the production capacity of its factory in Bruges, Belgium, by mid-2021.

The modernisation cost of the Bruges site will be financed by an investment exceeding €6m.

Bombardier stated that it will hire at least 180 additional employees to increase the site’s production capacity.

Bombardier Transportation France and Benelux president Laurent Bouyer said: “This plan is for us, as much an industrial necessity as a belief about the future. Despite the context of the coronavirus crisis, Bombardier is committed to moving forward with an ambitious plan for the transformation and sustainability of the Bruges site.

“This demonstrates the vitality of our industrial site and an unprecedented opportunity to modernise our production facilities, thanks to digital processes, cyber-tools and eco-friendly solutions.”

Bruges site director and head of operations Michel Huyghe said: “Our order book is full. At the end of December, we received a new order for 204 M7 coaches for SNCB, which represents around 18 months of work for our factory in Bruges. Therefore, it is important for us to invest massively in our production capacities and to develop our activities, for the benefit of the entire rail industry and the region.”

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By GlobalData

According to the investment plan, a new production line for 1-level coaches and for SNCB M7 cars will be created, as well as new and more efficient tools acquired.

New workstations such as a painting presentation station and a specific workstation for customer acceptance will be formed.

Maintenance workshops, especially those for TRAXX locomotives, will also be modernised.

Out of 180 additional employees, as many as 100 employees have been offered a permanent contract while the remaining are being employed with a two-year fixed-term contract, with the option of converting it into a long-term contract.

The company noted that Bombardier’s Bruges site will be able to meet the increasing customer demand with its highly specialised employee-base.

The renewal plan will also support Bombardier’s suppliers, enabling them to be equipped with the tools needed to increase production.

The company claimed that the 173,000m² Bruges factory is the only site in Belgium that still has the ability and equipment to build and test trains entirely.

Bombardier Transportation recently received an additional order from Italian intermodal freight operator GTS Rail for three BOMBARDIER TRAXX DC3 E.494 trains for its fleet.