Railway project gets ‘record’ bids from 17 foreign, 6 PHL firms

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THE RAILWAY PROJECT that will connect Tondo, Manila to Calamba, Laguna attracted a record 34 bids from 17 international and six Philippine companies, the Transportation department said on Thursday.

In a joint statement, the Department of Transportation and Philippine National Railways (PNR) said the foreign and local companies submitted 34 bids for six contract packages for the construction of the PNR Calamba project. This involves a combined 40.5 kilometers of viaduct structures, including 13 elevated stations and a 22-hectare train depot.

Some of the firms submitted bids for more than one contract package, while other firms offered bids as part of joint ventures. The bids were submitted and opened on July 14 and 15.

Among the 17 international companies that submitted bids, seven were from South Korea, namely DL Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.; Dong-ah Geological Engineering Co. Ltd.; GS Engineering & Construction Corp.; Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd.; Lotte Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd.; POSCO Engineering & Construction; and Samsung Construction & Trading Corp.

Three firms from Indonesia also participated in the bidding — PT Adhi Karya (Persero) Tbk; PT PP (Persero) Tbk; and PT Wijaya Karya (Persero) Tbk.

Other international companies that showed interest in the project included Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Construction Co. Ltd.; China Construction First Group Corp. Ltd.; Spain’s Acciona, S.A.; Turkey’s Gulermak Agir Sanayi Insaat ve Taahhut A.S.; Italian-Thai Development Public Co. Ltd.; Chun Wo Construction (Hong Kong); and Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd. (Hong Kong).

The six Philippine companies that offered bids for the PNR-Calamba project were D.M. Consunji, Inc.; EEI Corp.; First Balfour, Inc.; Megawide Construction Corp.; Prime Metro BMD Corp.; and Santa Clara International Corp.

“For the six contract packages that had bid submission and opening last week, the total (cost) is P151.69 billion,” the government agencies said.

The total cost of the PNR Calamba project is P344.6 billion.

“This record-breaking turnout of bidders is yet again an indication of the trust and confidence of both the local and international infrastructure sectors on the Duterte Administration’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program, which champions a transparent, fair, and efficient bidding process,” Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in a statement.

Five more contract packages for the PNR Calamba project, including civil works packages, construction of at-grade and viaduct structures with five stations, underground tunnel works and the construction of a station to be integrated with the Metro Manila Subway Project, will be bid out within the third quarter.

“The opening of bids for contract packages involving the project’s electromechanical systems and airport express train cars are [also]expected by Q3 2021,” the agencies said.

The PNR Calamba project is part of the 147-kilometer North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) System, which is supported by the official development assistance from the Asian Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Running from Clark, Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna, the NSCR will have 37 stations and 464 train cars or 58 trains sets, including seven Airport Express train sets.

Construction is currently “at full-swing” for the northern segment of the NSCR, the Transportation department and the PNR said. — Arjay L. Balinbin