Argentine cargo rail network witnesses great improvements with China's help

Argentina's Belgrano Cargas cargo rail lines, a strategic network for the country's agricultural exports, underwent major upgrading thanks to an Argentina-China cooperation project.

With joint efforts from the China Machinery Engineering Corporation and Argentina's state-run Trenes Argentinos, the rails, about some 580 km long, were renovated in about two years with new Chinese-built locomotives and cars incorporated into the system.

The ambitious project aims to revamp a total of 1,700 km of rail lines in the country.

The rest of the lines, which cross the northern provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Tucuman, Santiago del Estero, Chaco and Santa Fe, will be gradually renovated till April 2020.

"We are motivated by a good future outlook," said Matias Duran, the project's chief engineer, who was excited about the fact that project has also energized communities situated along the lines.

China is actively helping to improve not just the infrastructure of the tracks but also the rolling stock. The effort has significantly increased the country's cargo capacity.

Argentina's cargo rail system is composed of the Belgrano, San Martin and General Urquiza lines. The Belgrano lines alone transported 2 million tons of cargo last year, a 66-percent increase year-on-year, according to figures from the Ministry of Transport of Argentina.

The trains move agricultural goods, including soy, cotton, corn and flour, from the northern breadbasket to the export hub of Rosario, in Santa Fe Province.

In addition to increasing cargo capacity, the renovation work has helped cut down on transport times, with trains designed to reach the speed of up to 90 kilometers per hour.

In 2015, it took the trains 18 days to travel from Salta to Rosario. Today, the time has been cut to eight days.

Project inspector Nicolas Guaymas underscored the importance of the project for Argentina's economic development.

"It's very important because the type of project, once completed, can improve the whole regional economy, the whole northwest of Argentina," said Guaymas.

Editor: 曹家宁
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