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Brazil rail plan aims to enhance Latin America-Asia links

Brazil rail plan aims to enhance Latin America-Asia links

Brasilia: Brazilian minister of transport Alfredo Nascimento is about to launch a wide-ranging plan to expand the rail network in the southern state of Santa Catarina to connect up its three main ports ?" Itajai, Sao Francisco do Sul and Imbituba ?" with Brazil's Mercosur trade bloc neighbour Argentina, and thereby provide a qucik and cost-effective route through to the Far East and especially to China.

Nascimento is this week hosting in Brasilia respresentatives of the Santa Catarina state government and from the America Latina Logistica (ALL) rail company to outline his elaborate plan that would see vastly improved connections to the Pacific Ocean, via Salto, Santiago de Chile and the Chilean port of Valparaiso.

Itajai is the second biggest box port in Brazil, with chicken and beef exports to China and other Far East ports comprising the bulk of its 800,000teu per annum throughput. With new investment SFDO and Imbituba are rapidly expanding especially their trade with the Far East.

A spokesman for Nascimento said that once the extra rail links were in place, goods could be mostly railed (and only partially trucked, over the High Andes at Mendoza), all the way to Valparaiso in less than 15 days. Today the journey takes more than 20 days and with the goods being mostly trucked costs are much higher for shippers.  [23/09/09]