In conversation with Mr. Pascal Lignères, Director for Strategy & Rail in Asia – Egis

Rail Analysis: Please share more about your journey with Egis till now and how did you get started in this industry? Share with us some projects you have worked on so far and which have been the most challenging ones?

Mr. Pascal: I joined Egis in 2014 as deputy project director for Grand Paris metro. I am an experimented engineer, passionate to work on major and complex projects. And this is what Egis offers: the opportunity to work on innovative infrastructure projects worldwide, that will improve the quality of life for entire populations. Grand Paris metro Line 16 was very challenging: the first driverless metro designed in full BIM in France, fully underground, with 9 stations. Egis has been awarded a BIM golden award for this project. In 2018, I was heading the strategy for the group. Egis, as you know, is a diversified company present in over a 100 countries and each country has its own socio-economic challenges. One particular assignment that I was part of has been one of the most challenging yet fulfilling – is the vision 2025 of the group.

A brief about vision 2025 of Egis: Egis has drawn up a strategic plan, Vision 2025, to break new ground in its development by responding to today’s challenges for society: the climate emergency and the digital revolution. To successfully address these major challenges, Egis will develop its capabilities in two priority areas: transportation and mobility of the future on the one hand and sustainable city construction on the other. India is already engaged in this transformation. It is by offering new approaches and innovative solutions in these fields that we will be able to contribute to addressing the worldwide ecological challenge, which we have made our absolute priority for the years to come.

Rail Analysis: In your perspective, What has been the impact of Covid-19 on Infrastructure sector and economy at large ? How about the impact on the Egis’ business operations globally and in India?

Mr. Pascal: It is said that the impact of COVID 19 is probably one of the worst in the history of mankind. The worst part is – no one could see it coming and taking over the way it did – stopping the world for nearly 3 months.

Egis spreads awareness on Covid–19 with the help of pictorial messages

COVID 19 has resulted in delays in many of the infrastructure projects in the world. It was especially the case in Europe and in India. Egis, as Design and General Consultant, has supported its clients to restart the construction on site, with appropriate safety measures.

“During the lockdown, our Indian team has proven our ability to perform the Design remotely. Thereafter,
Egis has decided to set up an International Design Centre in India. Our design team in Gurgaon
is presently working on two infrastructure projects in Poland and Romania.”

In India, many new infrastructure projects have also been launched, even during the lockdown period. And we are already hearing about the spend on healthcare infrastructure going up from 1.3% of GDP to around 2.5% of GDP, which is a huge rise if you see the numbers. So I think COVID will also lead to new opportunities, too. Egis Group and Egis India both will meet its targets for the year, however, right now, the focus is to sustain the lean months, take care of our people so that when the markets are in full action, we are ready.


Following safety precautions against the coronavirus at Egis India office

Rail Analysis: With most companies operational now, let us know some of the precautions you are observing at your project sites and offices in India and globally?

Mr. Pascal: In most of our facilities around the world, we are working at less than 100 percent capacity to maintain social distancing. We are doing our best to make work from home viable for most of the employees. Wearing masks, thermal temperature checks and sanitizations are the new normal at every facility of Egis in the world.

Rail Analysis: Egis is involved in many projects pan India in the Rail and Metro sector. Can you share with us the updated footprint / landscape of Egis in the Indian market for Project Development and Management Consultancy, Detail Design Consultancy and other services in the Railway and Metro Sector in India?

Mr. Pascal: In India we are doing 8 metro projects. These projects include the Delhi Metro and Mumbai Metro line 3. We are also involved in freight corridors and semi-high speed rail projects.

General Consulting Services for Mumbai Metro Line 3 by Egis India

Recently, we have been awarded a new metro project, in Kolkata, where we will design and implement the CBTC signalling. CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) is a railway signalling system that makes use of the telecommunications to know the exact position of a train. This results in a more efficient and safer way to manage the railway traffic. Egis is a world specialist in this technology that will benefit India.

In these projects, we are involved from designing to general consultancy services. Our key differentiator is our strong expertise in both civil and systems, especially for automatic metros and high-speed rail.

General Consultancy (GC) Services for Chennai Metro Rail Project by Egis India

Rail Analysis: In respect to the “AatmaNirbhar Bharat” program of the Government , How do you view this initiative and How can Egis further localize its expertise for Indian market?

Mr. Pascal: Egis has decided to start a global design centre in India to service global clients from India. It has started with the Rail Business first and then will add more sectors. This will be a great opportunity for the Indian team to get global exposure working on global projects first hand and these learnings can later be implemented in the local projects as well.

Rail Analysis: As we know, many High speed & Semi-high speed rail projects in India are in different stages of execution, planning or construction, can you please inform us about your expertise in this regard and the projects you are looking to participate in future?

Mr. Pascal: Egis is a major player in the field of highspeed rail links for over 20 years, Egis has the engineering expertise needed for the largest of projects including both civil engineering works and railway systems.

“The company has been involved with all of France’s high-speed lines: Est, Rhin-Rhône, Sud Europe Atlantique,
Bretagne Pays de Loire, and Nîmes Montpellier, from civil engineering for high speed lines
to track equipment, energy supply, telecommunications and integration trials.”

Today the Group is exporting its expertise, in particular to Morocco where it is EPCM consultant for the Kenitra-Tanger high-speed link. Recently, we have been awarded the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project in Thailand. This High Speed Rail will link 3 Airport Projects and will be 220km-long. In India, Egis was one of the first designers appointed by NCRTC. Delhi-Meerut corridor is now under construction and we are very proud to be part of this challenging project. So Egis is very ready to offer the best in the world in high and semi high-speed rail technology to India.

Rail Analysis: Lastly, Congratulations to your team on winning the Honors at Rail Analysis Innovation & Excellence Summit 2020. Please share your review of the summit (on behalf of your team)?

Mr. Pascal: We would like to thank your team for choosing us for this honour. It was a great feeling for the entire Egis group to be acknowledged for our work in front of such an esteemed gathering comprising of the leaders of the industry in India. The summit is a great platform for the industry to come together to brainstorm, share and recognize each other and grow together. I wish the Summit all the very best for its future activities.

Rail Analysis: Any additional insights you would like to add for our readers?

Mr. Pascal: India is where the action is. The next 10 years will be very crucial and high growth for the entire infrastructure sector in this country as India continues to emerge as one of the top economies in the world. This is the best time for infrastructure professionals in this country.