By Roderick T. dela Cruz | The Standard | October 18, 2015
Who built the light rail vehicles used in Metro Rail Transit Line 3 is now a question that may affect the outcome of an emergency procurement for the three-year maintenance contract of the 16.9-kilometer line that serves nearly 600,000 passengers a day.
The confusion was caused by the privatization of state-owned CKD Tatra of the Czech Republic in 2002. CKD built and supplied the 73 light rail vehicles used by MRT 3, many of which now require rehabilitation.
Local rail maintenance firm Comm Builders & Technology Philippines said it recently signed a cooperation agreement with tram manufacturer SKD Trade A.S., a successor company to CKD Tatra. CB&T president and chief executive Roehl Bacar said SKD’s top executives would be in Manila by the fourth week of October to invoke the fact that they are the real successor-firm to CKD, not Inekon or Pragoimex, which are also Czech firms.
“We are proud to announce that we have signed this partnership agreement with SKD. We have learned that SKD’s factory, which was the factory of the old CKD, has all the spare parts available of the train model that we have now at the MRT so this means we solve any problem or concerns on availability of spare parts or obsolesence,” Bacar said.
The Transportation Department will soon choose three-year service provider that will take over the maintenance of MRT 3 from the current seven multi-discipline contractors with six-month contracts ending January 2016. The new contract includes the rehabilitation of 43 trains of MRT.
Some 48 brand-new light rail vehicles are also expected to arrive from Dalian, China starting next year as a part of the refleeting of MRT trains, but it remains to be seen whether they are compatible with MRT train configuration.