Manila Bulletin, 11 June 2012

MANILA, Philippines — China’s biggest railway builder and operator China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd. (CRCC) has renewed its commitment in building the $1.3-billion LRT Line 1 extension to Cavite province under PNoy’s Public-Private Partnership Program.

This was bared by Jerome Canlas, executive vice president of Ecorail Transport Services, Inc., the original proponent for the construction of LRT-1 Extension, who said that its foreign partner China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, one of the world’s leaders in railways construction and technology, has relayed to the consortium that that it wants to pursue the project under the PPP.

Canlas said Ecorail is already in the third stage of its unsolicited proposal to design, finance, build, transfer and manage has the advantage over the project proponents considering its track record in railway and train construction and its strong financial capability is readily available once the government gives the final for the project to proceed.

CRCC is one of the biggest in the world with assets of more than US$1 trillion and ranked 6th consistently for a period of nine years in the 225 largest contractors and among the top 500 enterprises in the world by Forbes magazine. CRCC is the operator of the world’s fastest train that traverse the Wuhan-Guangzhou line. CRCC, has already built 34,000 kilometers of railway tracks in 60 countries all over the world, including the 1,200-km Qing Hai-Tibet railway line. In 2008, CRCC listed its shares in the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges, raising the second largest initial public offering (IPO) in the world with US$ 5.71 billion second only to the IPO of Visa with US$19.65 billion.

“We hereby affirm our interest to cooperate with your esteemed organization to jointly pursue the above project which not only further underscores our mutual long term relationship but also progression of the framework of cooperation agreement entered into by both our organizations in Tianjin in June 2009, Hu Zhenyi, CRCC Executive Director and Vice President, said in his letter to Ecorail.

Cost-wise, the infrastructure development of Ecorail proposal is a lot cheaper at US$ 42.165 M per kilometer as against the other proposals at more than US$ 45 M per kilometer. The proposal for electro-mechanical works inclusive of the provision for rolling stocks sufficient to accommodate the peak ridership at 25 minutes headway over a period of time is also cheaper at US$409.14 million as against other proposals.

Ecorail is composed of well-experienced and experts in the fields of project financial packaging, project development inclusive of Engineering, Procurement and Construction as well as Operations and Maintenance Management at par with international standards.

Ecorail proposition will reduce the government’s balance of payment deficits and/or reduce subsidies which are advantageous to the Philippine Government, which is expected to minimize exposure to the project because it has no government guarantee.

Length-wise, the alignment of the LRT Line 1 South Extension proposed by ECORAIL is longer by more than 4 kilometers with its terminal point in Imus, Cavite as against the other proposals with terminal stations in Bacoor, Cavite. The project provides the much-needed link between the southern cities and municipalities of Cavite province and northern cities of Metro Manila. The railway system is intended to provide an efficient and reliable mode of transportation to help decongest the main arteries of Metro Manila.

LRT 1 extension will supplement the LRT 1 by extending it from Baclaran to Imus, Cavite; It will pass NAIA, Sucat, both in Paranaque Las Pinas, Zapote in Muntinlupa, and Talaba, Bacoor, Aguinaldo and finally Imus, all in Cavite.

Canlas said Ecorail has a ‘programmed solution’ for system enhancement and full integration provided by its designated team of specialists covering the North Line 1 Extension, the Existing Line 1 and the proposed South Line 1 Extension into a ‘‘seamless operation.’’