‘Opened’ in 2010, North-South only will work in 2014

Transport Minister Cesar Borges said on this Friday (July 5) that the two stretches of the North-South Railroad currently being built by the government will be granted to the private sector and will only operate after the signing of the concession agreements. The forecast is that this only occurs in 2014.

The stretches under construction by the government are from Palmas (state of Tocantins) to Anápolis (state of Goiás), with 862 km, and from Anápolis (state of Goiás) to Estrela d’Oeste (state of São Paulo), with 682 km.

According to the minister, the works of the first stretch will be completed by April 2014, and the following stretch by 2015. Today, the North-South Railroad operates a small 720-km stretch between Palmas (state of Tocantins) and Açailândia (state of Maranhão). This stretch began to be built in the 1980s. The stretch after Palmas had construction started in 2007.

Stretch from Palmas to Anápolis was inaugurated by the Lula government

In 2010, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva “inaugurated” the stretch from Palmas to Anápolis. The following year, President Dilma Rousseff visited the work and said it would be running by September 2012, which also did not occur.

The North-South from Palma to Anápolis has never worked because it lacks essential works. There are constructions that are already deteriorating. According to the minister, 90% of the works of the North-South were ready and there are only complementary works left. Supplements, however, will not be made by the government anymore.

The government will grant this stretch of the North-South along with another new railroad, which will connect Uruaçu (state of Goiás) to Lucas do Rio Verde (state of Mato Grosso).

The same model will be used with the north-south stretch between Anápolis (state of Goiás) and Estrela d’Oeste (state of São Paulo), which has delay in the construction, with only 40% of works completed. It will be granted with a new railroad that will link Estrela d’Oeste (state of São Paulo) to Maracaju (state of Mato Grosso do Sul).

The forecast of Minister Borges is that the notices to bid for these two concessions are published until September, and bidding takes place in October 2013.

According to the minister, the construction of new stretches can take up to five years. But what is already done can be operated by the winners of the concessions as soon as they sign the agreement.

Concession Program

According to the president of the EPL (Empresa de Planejamento e Logística), Bernardo Figueiredo, the government’s intention is that the notices to bid for all railroad stretches that are part of the concession program are published until the end of the year.

The forecast was to have 12 new railroad stretches in the package that totaled 10,000 km of railroads. The estimated value of the works was $24.75 billion. Figueiredo said the government has decided to include a thousand kilometers of railroad in the package, in a stretch that will connect the cities of Feira de Santana (state of Bahia) at Parnamirim (state of Pernambuco).

According to him, the government will still decide whether it will make new junctions of railroad stretches included in the package to get them to the auction or if it will grant each one separately.

According to Figueiredo, the economic problems facing the country in recent months have not led to a reduction in investor appetite.

“We do not perceive any changes in the mood of investors with respect to the concession program. On the contrary,” Figueiredo said.

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