DM Consunji, Inc. (DMCI) added P14 billion to its order book after its joint venture with Japanese firm Taisei Corp. was awarded the civil works contract for Phase 1 of the North South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project.

“The project is worth P54 billion, but for DMCI it’s about P14 billion into our order book,” DMCI Senior Vice-President for Business Strategy and Development Rebecca E. Civil said in a media briefing after parent DMCI Holdings, Inc.’s shareholders’ meeting in Makati on Tuesday.

The consortium officially signed the contract for the project with the Department of Transportation (DoTr) on Monday. It involves the construction of about 22 kilometers of elevated viaduct structures, six stations, and a depot located in Valenzuela.

The six stations will be located in Solis, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Meycauayan, Marilao, and Bocaue.

The company has committed to spend P2 billion in capital expenditures over the next two years to support the construction requirements of the project. It also looks to hire up to 5,000 direct and indirect workers in the next 30 months to increase its manpower.

Actual construction for the project started before the contract signing, with completion eyed by the end of 2021. The transport department said it wants the line to start partial operations by the third quarter of 2021.

“The total time for it to be operational will take 42 months. The civil works is about 30 months. There are three components: the 22-kilometer viaduct, the depot with the maintenance facilities, and then the six stations,” DMCI President and Chief Executive Officer Jorge A. Consunji said in the same briefing.

“After the civil works, there’s the EMS (electromechanical system). That’s another package up for bid before the end of the year,” he added.

The NSCR Phase 1 will use the existing alignment of the Philippine National Railway (PNR) running from Malolos, Bulacan to Tutuban, Manila. With a maximum operating speed of 120 kilometers per hour, the rail line is expected to cut travel time to 35 minutes from one hour and 30 minutes before.

The entire NSCR project consists of three main railway segments linking Clark, Pampanga to Calamba, Laguna: a 56-kilometer line from Calamba to Tutuban, a 38-kilometer line from Tutuban to Malolos, and a 53-kilometer line from Malolos to Clark.

NSCR marks DMCI’s fifth railway project. Its other projects include the Light Rail Transit Line 1 North Extension, LRT Line 2 East Extension, two PNR projects, and the Dubai Monorail in the United Arab Emirates.

For its part, Taisei is the contractor behind the Iloilo International Airport.

Shares in DMCI Holdings jumped 1.73% or 18 centavos to close at P10.60 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday. — Arra B. Francia