MVP group, ICTSI to push P10-B railway plan
The group of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan said talks for a freight train line linking Manila and Laguna were “back on track” with the appointment of a new board at the Philippine National Railways.
MRail Inc., a subsidiary of Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corp., said in a statement yesterday that discussions had resumed with the PNR for the railway project that would revive freight service operations from the Port of Manila to the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal.
The company announced in July 2016 that the project, estimated to cost P10 billion, would be a venture between Enrique Razon Jr.’s International Container Terminal Services Inc., which operates the inland container terminal as well as the Manila International Container Terminal.
Appointed recently, according to the statement, were Junn B. Magno as PNR general manager and Roberto T. Lastimoso as board chair.
“The freight train project has always been there. However, it was only prudent that we wait for the appointment of the new set of board directors as well as the new GM before we bring the project back on the table,” MRAIL president and CEO Ferdinand G. Inacay said in the statement.
MRAIL and PNR were supposed to sign a Track Usage Agreement in early 2016 but had to defer it pending the issuance of a legal opinion from the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC).
“However, when the OGCC issued the approval on the submitted draft MRAIL-PNR Track Usage Agreement, the 2016 national election campaign period was already in full-swing thus the parties were prohibited from entering into the agreement lest they violate the election prohibited acts,” the statement showed.
The freight service is expected to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila by utilizing the train in moving 300 to 600 shipping containers from the port of Manila to Calamba and vice versa.
MRail said that under the agreement, PNR was estimated to earn P5 billion from track usage fees alone. Once approved, Mrail will procure new locomotives and flat wagons, build a maintenance facility, stabling yard and re-fueling facility at no cost to government.
“We remain optimistic that the freight project will push through as the project provides very tangible value propositions to the government, the business sector particularly the importers and exporters located in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) area and to the environment as a whole,” Inacay said.
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