The increase of freight traffic by rail is another of the aims set out by the Department of Transportation of the Philippines. The aim is to improve commercial competitiveness and increase communications with the outside world.
Along with the transport of passengers, with the investment in infrastructures, the is to further foster the mobility of goods by rail to strengthen the foreign market. As the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) points out, there are almost a thousand ports in the country. Due to its insular nature, 98% of all foreign trade is carried out by sea, hence the importance of investing in its modernisation. Port development, to be more competitive leads to improvements in intermodal connections, especially in the main ports for container traffic such as Manila (Manila International Container Terminal), Cebu and SubicBay. Also important are those of Iloilo, Zamboanga and General Santos. The Government fosters the reconversion of some ports and the creation of new ones to optimise communications between the different islands.
Port of Manila and Calamba
MRAIL, Inc. has partnered with International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) for a railway goods project valued at 10 billion pesos (168 M €). With this initiative, operations between the ports of Manila and the container terminal in Calamba (Laguna) will be reactivated. The project aims to provide an uninterrupted transport of containers by moving them through the railways instead of by road. This would help improve traffic flow by reducing the output of between 300 and 600 trucks per day.
One of the main freight rail initiatives is the rail connection between the “SubicBay Freeport Zone” and “Clark Freeport” area with Clark International Airport. It would also reach other important economic centres in central Luzon, especially New Clark City. This would form an integrated logistics centre with the aim of decongesting the current situation. It is estimated that it be operationally ready in the year 2021.