Argentina is currently in the process of upgrading hundreds of miles of railroad under the Plan Belgrano. The infrastructure improvements will reduce shipping time between two major cities in the north from 18 days to just two.
The first 500 kilometers of track between the cities of Salta in the far north and Rosario, which lays along the Paraná River, were recently completed. According to Argentina’s Ministry of Transport, the improvements have already had a tremendous impact on rail capacity in South America’s second-largest economy.
“These first 500 kilometers are the proof of the historical recovery we are making of our freight trains, so that the products of the provinces reach the port, and from there to the world, with fewer transport costs and in less time,” said Minister of Transport, Guillermo Dietrich. “The railroad brings growth opportunities to the regions and generates thousands of jobs, and is a fundamental contribution to development that seeks to promote the Belgrano Plan.”
Plan Belgrano has four main objectives: to develop the social aspect of northern Argentina, to strengthen the productive infrastructure and transportation in the ten provinces in the region, to enhance tourism and regional economies, and to fight against crime and drug trafficking in the region.
Plan Belgrano is part of a multi-billion dollar improvement of Argentina’s railroad system.
“We are living an historic event with the recovery of the Belgrano Cargas,” explained the head of Plan Belgrano, Carlos Vignolo. “Every [kilometer] that we finish brings us closer to the objective of reactivating the railroad. This is one of the main investments that we face together with the Ministry of Transport and Argentine Trains because we want the train to return to be an option for the logistics of Northern producers, improving their costs and enhancing their work, we will continue advancing in this challenge that the President marked us as a priority.”
“In the case of grains, Argentina is the world’s leading exporter, but freight is the major cost,” explained Lemos. “There are regions of our country that can’t produce it because the cost of freight takes them out of the market. For the maize produced in Salta, for example, freight represents 50% of the value of the product. This means that corn isn’t produced in one of the most productive areas of the country. With the announcement of investments in infrastructure, several private investment projects began in the form of very important plants and ports.”