By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE TRANSPORTATION department said Monday a Chinese consortium composed of China Railway Design Corp. and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co., Ltd. has won the P3.08-billion project management consultancy contract for the first phase of the Mindanao Railway Project.

The contract was awarded on Aug. 5, the department told BusinessWorld when asked for an update on the China-funded project.

“After the award of the contract, contract signing and loan negotiations will follow,” it added.

On its website, the department said it requires “completion of all the detailed design and works for revenue operation” of the first phase of the railway project “within approximately 19 months, and the (project management consultancy services) are required within approximately 33 months to cater for the pre-construction activities and the defects notification period.”

There were three shortlisted Chinese consultants invited to submit bids for the project management consultancy services contract: the China Railway Design Corp. and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co., Ltd. consortium, the China Railway Liuyuan Group Co., Ltd., and the CCCC Railway Consultants Group Co., Ltd.

The department also said Monday that it is still waiting for the shortlist of bidders from China for the design-and-build package.

The P82.9-billion railway’s first phase, covering the 100.2-kilometer Tagum-Davao-Digos segment, will be financed through an official development assistance package from the Chinese government.

The first phase stretches from the Tagum Station and Depot in Davao del Norte to Digos City in Davao del Sur. It will have stations in Carmen, Panabo, Santa Cruz, and three in Davao City including a sub-depot.

The department said the segment scheduled for partial operations by March 2022 is the one between Tagum and Carmen.

The government targets full operations by June 2023.