Vale proposes to do studies of railroads for the government

Ferrovia Centro-Atlântica (FCA), controlled by Vale, negotiates with the National Land Transport Agency (ANTT – Agência Nacional de Transportes Terrestres) the elaboration of studies of the railroads included in the concession package, released last month by the federal government. The measure would be a way for the concessionaire to compensate the failure to comply with obligations under the concession agreement.

In recent years, the company signed a few Terms of Adjustment of Conduct (TAC) to retrieve railroad stretches, build works and tailor services according to the established agreement rules. Some measures have been met, others not, a source close to the negotiations said. The preparation of engineering, environmental impact and economic viability studies of the rail projects could cancel or reduce the holdover of the company with the government.

In the coming days, FCA will officially present a scope of the proposal. In this document, it should list the stretches to be studied, whether only those who are in its concession area or also those outside. The company manages a network of more than 8,000 km long, running through seven states: Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sergipe, Goiás, Bahia, São Paulo, and the Federal District.

Furthermore, the proposal will bring the concessionaire conditions for the production of studies. That is, whether or not they want to compensate the overdue TACs. Under the agreement, it could do the studies and then be reimbursed by the government, said a source in Brasília. But it would be more advantageous to take the opportunity and get rid of the holdovers with the State.

The company has tried other alternatives to get even with the federal government. One of them was to invest in the construction of a railroad on the coast of Rio de Janeiro, to the Port of Açu, of entrepreneur Eike Batista. But since the investment value was too high, the option was left aside.

The proposal for rail studies is less complex and would required less investment. But it will be up to the regulatory agency to evaluate the plan and accept the agreement designed by the concessionaire.

For the government it would be a good solution, since the majority of the $45.03 billion investments to build, maintain and manage 10,000 km of railroad have not yet started projects. To hire the studies, the government possibly would have to open a bidding, which would require more time than the expected on the day of the announcement of the package. The only ongoing projects are the North-South and West-East railroads.

In both cases, the studies are the responsibility of Valec, state-owned rail company that lost this role – it will have another role from now. It will buy the full freight carrying capacity of the new concessionaires and will resell via auctions to those interested in transiting with trains.

In case FCA is responsible for engineering, feasibility and environmental studies, the projects would come faster and better, an industry executive said. When asked, ANTT and FCA did not want to talk about it.

Bullet train. The federal government wants to sign an agreement with the government of the state of São Paulo to discuss the stretches of the bullet train between Campinas, São Paulo and São José dos Campos. The government of São Paulo plans to build regional trains of up to 150 km per hour in some of these areas.

Another issue that should be discussed is the location of the High Speed Rail (HSR) station in the state capital. Two spaces were evaluated until now: Campo de Marte, in the North region, and the Barra Funda Terminal.

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