By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

HITACHI RAIL has bagged the contract for the electrical and mechanical systems and track works of the Manila-Bulacan segment of the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project, according to the Transportation department.

The Philippines, through the Department of Transportation (DoTr), issued the notice of award to Hitachi Rail S.T.S. SpA representative Jorma Johannes Oksanen on Nov. 8, according to a copy of the document obtained by BusinessWorld.

The contract is worth P13.13 billion plus €361.96 million, $153.88 million, and ¥7.89 billion, equivalent to P46.6 billion according to exchange rates prevailing on Nov. 14.

The Tutuban (Manila)-Malolos (Bulacan) rail project is part of the 163-kilometer NSCR urban rail transit system from Calamba in South Luzon to Clark in Central Luzon. It is co-financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Asian Development Bank.

Undersecretary for Administration and Finance Kim Robert C. de Leon said Hitachi should submit a “performance security” or financial guarantee within 28 days of receiving the notice of award. 

On its website, Hitachi Rail describes itself as a “fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signaling, operation, service and maintenance, digital technology, and turnkey solutions.”

The DoTr instructed Hitachi Rail, as the prospective supplier, to submit its offer in September 2021.

In 2018, the company launched an autonomous train servicing Australian mines, and signed a contract in the Middle East for the operation and maintenance services of lines 3-6 of the Riyadh Metro. It won a contract in Italy in 2020 to deliver a new tram platform. 

The 38-kilometer Malolos-Tutuban segment has a projected cost of P149.13 billion, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.  It is expected to carry more than 200,000 commuters daily. The travel time from Malolos to Tutuban is estimated to be 35 minutes once the project is finished.

The Malolos to Clark segment is expected to be completed in 2024. According to JICA, the NSCR project is designed to strengthen the mass transport network servicing growing demand in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces.