METRO PACIFIC Tollways Corp. (MPTC) said it recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation with three tollway operators from Japan.

In a statement, MPTC said it inked the MoU with Japan Expressway International Co. Ltd. (JEXWAY), Central Nippon Expressway Co. Ltd. (NEXCO Central) and Metropolitan Expressway Co. Ltd. (MEX) with the goal of further improving its toll road operating capabilities.

“We are very happy to sign this technical cooperation agreement with JEXWAY, NEXCO Central and MEX, as this will allow us to tap into the wealth of Japanese road engineering experience and technology,” MPTC President Rodrigo E. Franco said in the statement.

Under the MoU, the companies are allowed to share knowledge on “asset management and repair of at-grade and elevated road and bridge sections, tunnel design and construction and the use of best practices to monitor the structural performance of expressway assets and facilities…”

JEXWAY was formed by five Japanese expressway companies to develop projects around the world. NEXCO Central is a Nagoya-based toll road operator with presence in Hanoi, Vietnam, while MEX operates the Shuto Expressway in Tokyo, Japan.

Mr. Franco noted aside from sharing know-how, the new partners will help MPTC learn from Japan’s example how to adapt to environmental challenges.

“This expertise comes in handy as we prepare ourselves to manage our roadways effectively in cases of emergencies like earthquakes and other natural calamities,” he said.

MPTC is a major toll road operator in the Philippines with presence in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. It currently operates the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx).

MPTC is under Metro Pacific Investments Corp., one of three key Philippine units of First Pacific, the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez