Wrightbus celebrates landmark £8m Far East orders
The international arm of Northern Ireland bus-maker Wrightbus was today celebrating two landmark orders to produce 45 buses for markets in the Far East from its factory in Malaysia.
Worth £8m, the low emission diesel buses will be destined for the streets of Hong Kong and Japan.
It marks a significant move for the Ballymena-based business, owned by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford, which sees the orders as an opportunity to grow the profile of the Wrightbus brand as far afield as Australia.
Chief Executive Buta Atwal said the news was proof that Wrightbus was leading the way in bus technology regardless of the fuel: “Whether it’s our world-first hydrogen bus, our near-zero emission diesel or our single-deck electric, the Wrightbus name stands for excellence in the bus world.
“Although we have endured a complicated year like so many manufacturers across the world, these orders will help us emerge from the pandemic with confidence.”
Wrightbus, which launched the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen double decker bus in 2020, recently announced the creation of 40 new jobs in preparation for increasing production of the vehicle this year to assist global net zero ambitions and support the PM’s pledge for at least 4,000 new Zero Emission Buses to be produced during this parliament.
The recruitment drive will welcome new members of production and office staff, including coachbuilders, spray painters, welders, electrical engineers, technicians, accountants, sales staff and a project manager. Nineteen of the positions will be apprenticeships, giving a boost to opportunities for young people in the region. And an international project engineer role has also been created as the firm looks to increase sales around the world.
Nathan Hodge, who heads the Wrightbus international division added: “While it hasn’t got to the tender stage yet, we are having some really good discussions in Australia about hydrogen buses. While Australia is seen by many to be among the leaders of hydrogen technology, there is only one hydrogen bus in the country so there’s a huge amount of potential.
“Countries like Malaysia, which exports oil, will always find the cost of hydrogen or electric buses prohibitive, yet that’s where our near-zero diesel comes in.”
Mr Hodge explained that the ASEAN free-trade agreement signed last year would ensure tariff-free movement of goods from the Wrightbus factory in Malaysia.
“Naturally having a factory in the Far East enables us to be part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which provides tariff-free trade to the Southeast Asian Nations as well as Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea,” he concluded.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.