ANTF closes 2010 with a positive result

The National Railway Transport Companies’ Association (Associação Nacional dos Transportes Ferroviários – ANTF) ends the year of 2010 on a high note, with a feeling of a duty well done. According to the Executive Director of the institution, Rodrigo Vilaça, “we have saved the assets of the rail network”, he commemorates.

With the curtain now coming down on this victorious year, the sector is already looking ahead to 2011. According to Mr. Vilaça, the new challenge that now looms is that of increasing the capacity of the rail network and also the competitivity of rail transport in the country. For this purpose, it shall be necessary to invest in technology and professional qualification, and also on the expansion of the network, all this being in partnership with the Federal Government, seeking to eliminate the current bottlenecks.

In general, the main prospect of the rail segment for 2011 is that of starting the second phase of concession in a competitive manner. So far, after the deregulation and privatization process which unfolded between 1996 and 1999, a total of 11 subnetworks were transferred to private enterprise, adding to a total of 29,000 km of track.

To assess the results of these railway concessions, Mr. Vilaça uses the expression “from loss to profit”. Every year, the Federal Government saves R$ 300 million on the operations of the now-defunct Federal Railways (Rede Ferroviária Federal SA – RFFSA). In addition, between 2007 and 2009 nearly R$ 12 billion have entered the Government coffers just through collection of taxes, concessions and leasing, as well as CIDE paid by the concessionaires.

Apart from working for the continuity of success in these concessions, the ANTF also counts on the work of the Growth Acceleration Plan (Programa de Aceleração do Crescimento – PAC) for the further development of this segment. The director of the ANTF says that this is an instrument which reinforces the importance of the rail transport segment for the country. “There are 17 different projects concerning this sector which are reasonably well advanced, seeking the continuation of the sequence within the general package for expansion of the network”, he also comments.

He also highlights that the PAC has brought the railway back to the prominence at which it should always have been, and also reminds us that the segment was neglected for many years and, thus, is now so obsolete. “Environmental problems and other issues have prevented the development of the railways in Brazil. Without a shadow of doubt, we can say that we have definitely evolved with the PAC”, he assures us.

Happy with the way the program has progressed, Mr. Vilaça also has good expectations regarding the investments to be made in the railway segment next year. He feels that, as from 2011, the new construction projects and also the completion of those which are currently in progress may ease the pressure on the national rail network, both by providing solutions for the critical points as also opening new frontiers for transporting goods by rail.

The prospects in relation to the PAC are even better for another reason: the election of Dilma Rousseff who, at the start of next year, shall take over as President of Brazil. It was Ms Rousseff who managed the program and brought the railways onto the agenda, in the words of the director of the ANTF.

Despite all the optimism, Mr. Vilaça makes an important observation: it is essential to solve the problem of the bottlenecks in land access to Brazilian ports. “Road and rail access routes to our ports have many problems. It is essential that this issue should be solved. The port structure needs to be studied with care and attention, as this is an important pillar for the practice and advancement of intermodality”.

The fact is that, for some time now, the director of the ANTF has been an ardent defender of the issue of intermodality, and this is justified. There shall be no point in the country having excellent roads and railways if the access to the ports is not reviewed, so that there may be perfect integration of different transport systems, thereby boosting the competitivity of Brazilian transport.

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Fonte: Log Web Portal

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