JICA announces Sumitomo, Hankyu tie-up to enhance LRT-1 operations

THE Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said the tie-up of Sumitomo Corp. and Hankyu Corp. have agreed to enhance the operations and maintenance of Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1).

“This project is the first overseas investment in railroad operation and maintenance for Hankyu Corp. and JICA, encouraging Japanese companies to expand their high-quality infrastructure business overseas,” JICA said in a statement. 

The agreement was finalized on April 25.

JICA cited the need to improve transportation infrastructure in the capital region to maximize the Philippines’ growth potential.

“However, Metro Manila is considered one of ASEAN’s (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) most congested metropolitan areas, highlighting the pressing need for improving the public transportation network, including the development of new railroad infrastructure,” JICA said.

Ongoing construction will extend LRT-1 to Cavite.

The LRT-1 Cavite Extension project seeks to add 11 kilometers to the current line, serving 800,000 passengers a day. It would also increase the number of LRT-1 stations from 20 to 28, linking Quezon City to Bacoor, Cavite.

Phase one of the project, which covers an additional 6.2 kilometers to the rail line, is 97% completed as of March, its private operator Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) said. It is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2024.

Sumitomo Corp. began investing in LRT-1 in 2020, supporting the LRMC’s procurement of spare parts.

“From now on, the company will collaborate with Hankyu and JICA, its new partners, to help further increase the value of the business undertaken by LRMC,” it said in a separate statement.

Hankyu Corp. operates urban transportation and real estate businesses in Japan’s Kansai region.

“In collaboration with LRMC and its other shareholders, Sumitomo Corp., Hankyu and JICA will harness their respective strengths and expertise to make LRT-1 even safer and more convenient, thereby contributing to reinforcing the transportation network of Metro Manila,” Sumitomo Corp. said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz