MANILA, Philippines – Manila Electric Co. subsidiary MRAIL Inc. and the International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) are considering reviving a plan to build a P10 billion container rail service to provide more efficient movement of goods and help decongest ports and roads.
MRAIL is also interested in undertaking the Mindanao Rail project mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Ferdinand Inacay, president and CEO of MRAIL, told reporters yesterday that the company together with ICTSI intends to pursue the proposed railway project.
The railway service from Manila to Calamba, was operated by ICTSI from 1998 but was suspended in 2002.
Under the proposal, the first phase involves reviving the connection from Manila to Calamba by linking Manila International Container Terminal and Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal, both operated by ICTSI.
For the rail service, MRAIL will own the trains which will use the tracks of the Philippine National Railways for a fee.
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The rail service involves the rehabilitation of the existing PNR tracks, restoring the Tutuban to the Port of Manila tracks that traverse through the center of C.M. Recto Ave., and the construction of the stabling yard in Calamba for the container trains.
Inacay said it would take two years to implement the project from contract signing and start of rehabilitation work.
He said they are hopeful their proposal would be approved and rehabilitation works could start by the fourth quarter this year.
After the first phase, the second phase will cover connecting the Manila Port to Clark, while the third phase involves linking Clark to Subic and Calamba to Batangas to have the major ports in Luzon connected to the rail system.
Once operational, the railway is expected to help ease the congestion in ports and roads.
Apart from its proposal, Inacay said MRAIL is also interested in the Mindanao Rail project.