The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) has announced that it has inked a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Chinese companies to develop a maglev research and development center in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
In a statement, Ceza administrator and CEO Raul Lambino identified the two firms as Eminova Asset Management Ltd. and Hunan Goke maglev Technology Development Ltd., which will pour an initial investment of $1 billion to establish the first training and production center in the Philippines for maglev trains, the world’s fastest trains.
Eminova, a Hong Kong-based independent investment fund management of Australian and European funders, also covers projects in energy, environment, global entertainment and major infrastructure investments.
Hunan Goke maglev Technology Development Ltd., on the other hand, is the second but now the largest magnetic levitation line builder in the world after the Germans, who built the first maglev train system in Shanghai.
Hunan Goke will be the project proponent of the maglev project in the country and will primarily be responsible for the financing of the start-up phase of the joint-venture.
Lambino said the project will involve research and development, as well as for the production of the prototypes of the cutting-edge, low-magnetic radiation, zero-derailment risk maglev trains that run on low noise and without friction and vibration.
He also disclosed that the maglev production line in Ceza intends to roll out light rail vehicles, and medium and high-speed maglev trains that run from 200km to 400km per hour for neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.
“We need to be aggressive and innovative in promoting our competitive edge in the freeport,” said Lambino who Ceza’s relatively cheap labor, highly-skilled workers, vast tracks of unused lands, and attractive fiscal incentives.
Lambino said the maglev project would be patterned after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s Hanjin Shipyard facility to generate massive local employment. The Hanjin Shipyard in the Redondo Peninsula is considered to be the world’s second-largest shipbuilding facility for huge cargo vessels, providing more than 30,000 jobs for Filipinos.
The maglev research project has further diversified investments coming into the freeport 15 months into Lambino’s term as head of the agency.
In May, Lambino launched the “Crypto in the Valley” initiative that attracted more than two dozen start-up companies engaged in financial technology solutions and overseas trading of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherium.