$7bn Philippine rail scheme attracts bids from 17 international contractors

The Philippines’ Department of Transportation has received an enthusiastic response to its tender for a rail project in Manila.

Seventeen big-hitting contractors from around the world have joined consortia to bid for the first of six work packages of the Philippine National Railways (PNR) Calamba project, which has an expected cost of around $7bn.

They are up against and six local firms also bidding.

Arthur Tugade, the country’s transport secretary, said: "I believe the impressive turnout of bidders for the PNR Calamba Project’s contract packages is proof of the infrastructure sector’s trust in the government’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure programme." 

The 56km line will include 41km of viaducts, 13 elevated stations and 22ha of depots. When complete in 2028, it is expected to serve more than 500,000 passengers a day and cut travel time from Manila to Laguna from roughly four hours by car to one hour.

The international bidders, by country, are:

  • China Construction First Group Corporation, Chun Wo Construction and Leighton Contractors
  • DL Engineering & Construction, Dong-ah Geological Engineering, GS Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Lotte Engineering and Construction, Posco Engineering & Construction and Samsung Construction & Trading, all from Korea
  • Adhi Kary, PP and Wijaya Karya from Indonesia
  • Gülermak Ağır Sanayi from Turkey
  • Acciona from Spain
  • Italian-Thai Development Public Company from Thailand
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Construction from Japan

The domestic companies in the running are: DM Consunji, EEI Corporation, First Balfour, Megawide Construction, Prime Metro BMD and Santa Clara International.

The project is part of the 147km North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), which will stretch from Calamba in the south of the island of Luzon to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga, north of Manila.

NSCR System will have a fleet of 58 trainsets, including seven for the Airport Express. The project is being financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Tugade commented that it was "the single largest project being financed by the ADB in its history, and is the longest commuter railway being financed by JICA".

He added that work on the northern segment of the NSCR was in "full swing". This involves 90km of rail line and 16 stations.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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