The Argentine government has signed four contracts worth 4.7 billion euros with Chinese corporations China Railway Construction (CRCC), China Machinery Engineering (CMEC) and CRRC for the modernization of freight railways and the supply of new rolling stock. Part of the work will be performed by the Chinese company Yutong.
Cooperation with Chinese partners is aimed at expanding export supplies of Argentinean agricultural products, improving transport accessibility of regions, increasing employment, as well as reducing logistics costs and reducing the negative impact of transport on the environment.
As part of the first agreement, CRCC will invest $ 2.6 billion in the renovation of the 1,813 km San Martin freight line. Passing through the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, San Luis, Cordoba and Mendoza, the San Martin line will connect the country’s western agricultural regions with the eastern ports of Rosario and Buenos Aires. Earlier, in October 2019, modernization was completed on one of the sections of this line with a length of 127 km between Cabred and Retiro stations (Buenos Aires region).
CMEC will rehabilitate the 911 km Belgrano Cargas line passing through the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman, Cordoba, São Luis, Santa Fe, Buenos Aires and Catamarca. CMEC will invest USD 816 million in the project, of which 65% will go to construction work and 35% to purchase rolling stock and other equipment.
CMEC will also undertake an estimated US $ 784 million modernization of the 660 km Norpatagonico line in the southern part of the country, including the construction of a new 80 km section to Agielo station, as well as the replacement of turnouts and the reconstruction of the depot. As part of this project, it is planned to renew the track between Bahia Blanca and Contralmirante Cordero stations. The main objective of the Norpatagonico line is the development of the Vaca Muerta shale gas field, which should contribute to the economic growth of the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Rio Negro and Neuquen.
A $ 490 million agreement was also signed with CRRC International for the supply of 211 electric trains that will replace diesel-powered rolling stock on lines in Buenos Aires and 13 other provinces. Of these, 111 electric trains will be supplied for the Belgrano South suburban line, 45 for the Sarmiento suburban service and 20, together with spare parts, for the Tren de la Costa tourist route. Another 90 diesel trains, along with spare parts, will be purchased for regional and local lines.