Filipino-Hong Kong venture wins P24 billion tunnel deal

By Elijah Felice Rosales | The Philippine Star
February 22, 2023


MANILA, Philippines — The government has awarded a P24-billion contract to build the tunnel linking the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR) with the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) to a joint venture of Filipino and Hong Kong firms.

A notice of award obtained by The STAR showed that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has issued Contract Package (CP) S-03B of the NSCR to the joint venture of engineering giant First Balfour Inc. and Hong Kong-based Leighton Asia.

CP S-03B worth P23.92 billion – inclusive of $14.63 million and 21.38 million euros – covers the civil works for the tunnel connecting the NSCR and the MMSP.

First Balfour and Leighton Asia are contracted to put up a 6.1-kilometer railway that includes a 4.7-km underground rail and 1.7-km at-grade rail. They have to build the FTI station of the NSCR and tie the segment up to MMSP’s Senate station.

The joint venture was extended 2,160 calendar days to deliver CP S-03B. As it stands, the DOTr has yet to award CP 108 of the MMSP covering the Lawton to Senate tranche, where the subway will be linked to the NSCR.

Leighton Asia, a unit of the CIMIC Group, boasts of a portfolio ranging from building design and civil infrastructure, to mechanical works and oil and gas for clients in Asia and the Pacific.

Leighton Asia built the West Kowloon Terminus Station – the largest underground railway station in the world – that forms part of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

First Balfour maintains a track record of planning and completing high-value buildings, power infrastructure, transport infrastructure and water infrastructure.

In transport, First Balfour engaged mostly in the rail extension and structural rehabilitation of the Light Rail Transit Line 1. The firm was tapped to expand the existing depot of the LRT-1 and build a new one for its Cavite extension.

Outside of rail, First Balfour worked with D.M. Consunji Inc. and Spanish multinational Acciona S.A. in designing and putting up the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway of the Metro Pacific Group. The firm was also involved in the road widening of North Luzon Expressway and the bridge construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

After CP S-03B, the DOTr is expected to award in March the contracts to complete the Manila to Taguig line (CP S-03A) and the Parañaque to Muntinlupa segment (CP S-03C).

To be completed in 2028, the P873.62-billion NSCR – financed by Japan – seeks to put up a rail line spanning from Clark International Airport to Calamba, Laguna.