Surbana Jurong, Aboitiz partner in Philippine’s biggest privately-owned industrial development

Surbana Jurong, a global urban, infrastructure and managed services consulting firm based in Singapore, has partnered with the Philippines’ infrastructure company Aboitiz InfraCapital to develop LIMA Estate, a sustainable industrial development in the 800-hectare Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA)’s economic zone in Batangas, the largest privately-owned industrial estate in the Philippines.

Dennis Tan, Surbana Jurong’s executive director for global and energy transition, in an interview with Maritime Fairtrade, said they began planning the project during the time when there were still Covid-19 global travel restrictions. Surbana Jurong showed the project plan to Aboitiz what a future-ready LIMA Estate could look like. Back then, stakeholder engagements and meetings were conducted online. 

Despite the impact of the lockdown, it did not deter the companies from pushing through with the project. Once the borders opened and travel restrictions were lifted, both parties were able to physically meet on-site to continue the project.

Smart city in Batangas

Tan said: “Aboitiz LIMA will leverage smartness, which is not just about technology but also about processes, programs, and problem-solving. 

“It is not about betting on one single major needle-mover technology investment but rather, implementing at the estate-level infrastructural changes to augment the energy mix, promote energy efficiency, waste reduction, emission management, and reap the collective benefit of behavioral changes by each industrialist and tenant at LIMA. 

“It is like having a roadmap to guide the energy transition and transformation into a smart and sustainable estate.” 

LIMA Estate, which places priority on environmental sustainability, is a mixed-use development hosting 150 business tenants, 167 retail stores and restaurants, a 136-room 4-star hotel, a transportation hub, and over 4,000 households.

Currently a thriving industrial-anchored estate, it is envisioned to be the next leading mixed-use economic center, with business process outsourcing companies, dormitories, hotels, schools, hospitals, churches, and other institutions.

The industrial area is expected to generate up to 31,000 new jobs for locals living in Batangas and other nearby residents from other provinces. Several companies such as Aice Brands, El Colono del Oeste, and Ogura Clutch Philippines have built their facilities on the estate. 

LIMA Estate is the first and only industrial estate in the country that was awarded a five-star BERDE-District Certification, the national voluntary green building rating system. It also received the Philippine Green Building Council’s (PhilGBC) Leadership in Sustainable Design and Performance Award. 

The five-star BERDE-District Certification was given to the LIMA Tower One which is the first out of seven multi-storey office buildings that are being constructed at LIMA’s Central Business District. It is slated for completion in 2024.

The LIMA Central Business District targets to fully rely on 100 percent renewable energy sources in the future. The estate’s sustainability plan extends to turn the estate’s shopping mall’s food waste into fertilizer and it also features a Smart Water Network by Aboitiz’ subsidiary, LIMA Water.

Tan said in-country electricity market regulations, the pace of B2B Power Purchase Agreements, and the greening of the grid are major factors that affect the ongoing construction of the estate.

“Aboitiz also has its own Power and Renewables business arms, as well as its power transmission infrastructure to LIMA. So, there are options for the industrialists and tenants to acquire low-carbon or even green electrons, and they should definitely try to get onboard because the market is increasingly asking for low-carbon products,” he added.

The RED initiative

“RED has many objectives, one of which is the electrification of vehicular fleets, which is a facet of energy transition. The electrification of the vehicular fleet also provides a service to the working population at LIMA, and nudges behavioral change by linking it to a lifestyle program,” shared Tan.

The RED initiative involves the Red Link and the Red Pass. The Red Link is a fleet of electric mini-buses for both tenants and visitors, replacing fuel-powered vehicles that were previously used at the LIMA Estate. Aboitiz Infrastructure Economic Estates targets to convert all service fleets to electric vehicles by 2025. 

The Red Pass is a lifestyle program for visitors and residents. Initially, it introduced an access card for the Red Link. The program will become a rewards card and an e-wallet card in the future.

Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, head of Aboitiz InfraCapital Economic Estates, in a press statement, said: “We are dedicated to reducing our carbon emissions by transitioning to EVs and providing sustainable mobility to the tens of thousands of people that pass through LIMA Estate each day. These initiatives form the cornerstone of next-generation cities, enabling us to forge a sustainable future for the communities wherein we operate, as well as for the nation.” 

Global Electric Transportation, a transport technology company, provided the electric shuttle buses which have seven different routes within the estate and are powered by Aboitiz Power and LIMA EnerZone, which installed fast-charging stations for the electric vehicles’ Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries. 

The mini-buses are person with disabilities-friendly with retractable electric ramps, wheelchair slots, CCTVS, display monitors, and WiFi. The buses will also transport employees around the estate.

Disaster response Central Estate Command Center 

LIMA Estate features a Central Estate Command Center for emergencies. Tan said the command center has different contingency plans depending on each scenario. He said there are huge advantages to having a command center, such as having a highly elevated command-control and visualization. These will enable effective coordination and faster speed of response to emergencies.

Tan said Aboitiz has to focus on warning and recovery when it comes to disaster response and keeping its community safe during major calamities. Both parties are looking into technology for warning once an emergency happens and the current plans are to have an enhancement for recovery response when a disaster hits the area.

Tan said Surbana Jurong has other projects, targeting an energy transition landscape with Aboitiz and other conglomerates in the Philippines.

Photo credit: Surbana Jurong. Dennis Tan, executive director for global and energy transition.

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