Railway plan for cargo backed
A transportation group expressed support for the Duterte administration’s plan to revive the country’s cargo railway industry, which will help ease road congestion in Metro Manila and other urban centers.
Michael Salalima, executive director at the Transport group National Alliance of Transport Organization (Nato), said in a statement the plan would also benefit the country’s cargo shipping and logistics industry.
“A rail-based solution is a viable alternative to address the congestion in Metro Manila and its environs; expanding the rail systems, both for more efficient cargo transport as well as commuter relief, is the first step to decongest our major roads,” Salalima said in a statement.
The implementation of a container rail services was among the transport projects presented by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade in his first 100 days in office.
Specifically, Tugade said he wanted a cargo railway line linking the Subic and Clark freeport zones, citing transport efficiencies to be generated between Subic’s port and Clark’s international airport. Over the long term, Tugade wanted all cargo to move across the country via railway or roll-on/roll-off shipping.
“From a transport industry’s perspective, among the projects being considered by DOTr during the first three months of the Duterte administration, the container rail services project is the most viable and critical for implementation,” Salalima said.
In the same statement, MRail, a subsidiary of Manila Electric Co., said it has partnered with Enrique Razon Jr.’s International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) for a rail project between the ports of Manila and an inland container terminal facility in Laguna. The proposal was first made to the Aquino administration.
ICSTI operated the cargo trains transporting containers from the port of Manila to Laguna using the PNR tracks from 1998 until it was discontinued in 2003.
Heeding importers’ and exporters’ call for efficient movement of goods, MRail submitted the cargo rail system project in 2015 to the previous administration.
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