The national government is carrying out an extensive plan of
improvements in the “Belgrano” rail freight transport system. This plan
includes the renewal of tracks, locomotives and wagons. All these
actions aim to reverse the decay of this crucial railway line that
travels across provinces of the north and northwest of Argentina. This
article details the renovations in progress and the financing sources
for these works. The information comes from the Deputy Secretary of
Freight Transport Planning and Logistics, which depends on the Ministry
of Transport and ADIF S.E. (Argentine Trains Infrastructure).
The ‘Belgrano Cargas’ railway system travels across provinces of
the north and northwest of Argentina. The decay in its infrastructure and
management has resulted in a steep drop in transported cargo. For example,
in the late 1980s, already into its downturn, it carried about 4 million
tons. In 2016, this figure had dropped to 1 million tons.
Even if rates are usually slightly lower than other transport modes,
traveling times are much longer and uncertain. Shipping soybean by rail
from Salta to Rosario ports can take easily more than a week, whereas by
truck this route is carried out between 24 and 36 hours.
This article summarizes some aspects of the ‘Belgrano Cargas’
railway system renovation works as pointed out by Carmen Polo, Deputy
Secretary of Freight Transport Planning and Logistics of the Ministry of
Transport. This plan aims to improve connectivity with the northern areas
of the country, which has been a central objective of current national
In addition, we show information from " The transport infrastructure as an engine of growth" by Guillermo
Fiad, President of ADIF S.E. and a January 19, 2016 note signed by
representatives of the companies ‘Belgrano Cargas y Logística S.A.’ and
‘China Machinery Engineering Corporation’ attached to the Argentine
Republic Official Bulletin.
According to Ms. Polo, there are plans to renovate 1,593 kilometers of
rails from the ‘Belgrano Cargas’ railway system. This will require
38 months and an estimated investment of US$ 2.9 billion. Financing is
expected to come from three parties: CMEC (China Machinery Engineering
Corporation), CAF-Latin American Development Bank and the National
Which sections are the first to be renewed?
Renovation tasks between the towns of Timbúes and Coronda have already been
completed. The financing source corresponds to CAF. The length of this
section is about 85 kilometers.
Within the territory of Santa Fe, the second stage of works includes the
sections Coronda - Santo Tomé and Laguna Paiva - Estación Naré. The
Estación Naré – Santurce segment, with an extension of about 127
kilometers, has been declared as completed. All of the works were also
financed by CAF.
The segment that connects Santurce, Santa Fe to Las Breñas, Chaco, covers
about 380 Kilometers and is to be financed by an agreement with the CMEC.
The segment between Las Breñas and Pampa del Infierno, in the province of
Chaco, accounts for more than 100 kilometers. This section is said to have
been completed and was financed by CAF.
In the C12 branch, the following segments are also included in stage I of
the agreement with CMEC:
The stage II of the CMEC-CAF agreement includes the Talavera – Pichanal and
Pichanal – Embarcación sections, within the province of Salta. These
segments total about 290 kilometers.
Stage III is the next to be tendered, accounting an investment of US $ 195
million. This stage includes:
Tucumán – Metán in the C8 branch: 280 kilometers.
Metán – Joaquín V. Gonzalez in the C12 branch: 102 kilometers and a total
investment of USD 77 million.
Metán to El Chalicán in the C/C15 branch: 197 kilometers and a total
investment of USD 149 million.
We attach next an info graphic that summarized renovation tasks, which was
provided by Ms. Carmen Polo.