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Creating better road connections

Interview - January 18, 2013
World Report meets with Galsan Narangerel, Executive Director of Monroad, to discuss Mongolia’s plans to build more roads to better connect the provinces

Mongolia is experiencing a very special time at the moment, with GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth approaching 20%. Alongside this growth, there is a great need for road transportation development. How has the construction sector contributed to this success?

The Mongolian economy has been growing very fast over the past five years. We have to develop the infrastructure sector in order to develop the economy. The transport sector is holding the development of the country back, and we are aware of this, so we are trying to develop the road transportation sector. We are actively working on it to solve this issue.

There is a lack of roads in the countryside and this is not good for the people living in the countryside in terms of their lifestyles and prices of goods. Information is less readily available because of the lack of road infrastructure. We use cars for trade in the countryside area, and that is why goods are more expensive in the countryside. Even the quality of food is affected. Those people are at a disadvantage because of that. The Government is implementing a new road transportation development policy to build approximately 6,000 km of roads in the next five years. We are going to build roads to connect all the provinces with the city.

When you talk about transport, it is very interesting to hear you talking about it from a social side. Most people look at it from an economic view. A lot of the transport routes are for mining and industry. How is a company like Monroad going to work with the Government to address this issue, and help the people of Mongolia?

Our Company was established 11 years ago, and we will be 12 years old soon. Since then, we have been working on a project to connect 37 of the provinces. We have already built over 347 km. we have built a runway for large planes as well in the western part of Mongolia, 1,600 km and we still have a lot of road projects that we are currently completing.

Do you have stone crushing facilities?

Yes, we do.

What are your expectations? You mentioned the new road transportation policy. How will you be working with the Ministry in the future?

I am waiting for a lot of things from the Government. When you have an election here, the road transportation system usually comes to a standstill. We have a lot to do, but we could not do anything last summer because of the elections. We won several tenders to build roads in March and April, but we could not start because of the elections. But next year, we will have so many jobs. We will be very busy. We have already signed a contract for a project.

Do you have an active expansion policy?

We do, but this year we could not do any jobs ordered by the Government because of the elections. They asked us to postpone construction works because of this.

What does Monroad offer compared to other companies?

We have undertaken different projects, including an energy project. The most important job that must be completed by us, which helps Mongolian people should be done as soon a possible.

What are your competitive advantages? 

We have a very professional engineering team. We have a very experienced working team. We have been using the best international technology. Also, in our transportation sector, we are starting to obtain international certification standards, such as ISO 9001. We are working on the paperwork for this standard. We are the first country to implement three standards at the same time. We think that if we start implementing these standards at the same time, it will be better.

With these standards, you are the natural option for a foreign partner. Are you actively looking for investment or foreign technical assistance to expand here?

Last summer there was an international audit, which checked all the work from the companies working on the project. They also checked Mongolian companies and how they are working and whether they were following international standards. They checked our work and they said that we were working to international standards. Next year, we will be inviting an international auditing company to check their work. We will make improvements based on the advice given to us.

What are your personal objectives? Where would you like to see the company in the next five years?

We have some big objectives to meet in the next five years. The first is obtaining the three standards that I mentioned earlier. Secondly, we are working on new technology in the road transportation sector. We want to import road construction materials that are suitable for our harsh climate. The Asian Development Bank is also working on a project to improve Mongolia’s road transportation system, and we are working with them.

How do you think the UK could lend a hand in this sector?

The UK climate is very different to Mongolia’s – the UK is very wet, whereas Mongolia is very dry. We would like to work with countries with the same climate as us, like Canada, Russia and the northern part of China. These countries have a lot of experience, and we can learn from them. A mining transportation and construction exhibition was held in Mongolia, and many countries attended. Maybe we could work with countries like the UK. I want to study the technologies abroad, which are suitable for countryside areas.

What made you choose the road transportation sector?

I am an engineer, and I studied in Europe. I was one of the first people to study in Europe. I worked in the nature and environment sector for many years. There are too many roads, and I wanted to reduce the number of roads and turn them into one main road. That is what attracted me. Also when you build roads, you are working with nature. That is what attracted me. One of my friends actually suggested that we should work together in this sector.

What final message would you like to send to the readers about Mongolia, to someone who does not know much about Mongolia?

I do not want to say anything about roads, but I want to say to the audience that we are one world and nation and we should live in a peaceful world with no discrimination regarding religion or war. We should live and develop together as one nation, without any wars. We should live in harmony.