MERALCO subsidiary MRail Inc. said on Friday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the local government of Batangas to carry out a feasibility study on the extension of its freight train project from Calamba, Laguna to the Batangas International Port.
“The proposed MRail Freight Project, in partnership with government and private sector partners, offers the potential of helping spur economic growth in the province and providing more jobs to the people of Batangas,” MRail Chairman Oscar Reyes said in a statement.
The Batangas Port, operated by Asian Terminals Inc., has an annual capacity of 300,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs).
The feasibility study will look into the alignment of tracks as well as the viability of the right-of-way of the Philippine National Railways (PNR).
MRail initially made a proposal with PNR to operate a freight train from Tutuban to the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal in Calamba. Now, the company is eyeing to extend it to Batangas.
“The project aims to provide a seamless transportation of containerized cargoes by moving them via railway instead of the roads,” according to MRail.
The company said it expects to reduce the number of cargo trucks daily by at least 300 to 600, which would help alleviate traffic congestion.
The project is part of the modernization and expansion program of PNR, which aims to integrate a cargo rail system to its service.