A new mega railway across Latin America

By Adriana Abdenur

Published on Climate Diplomacy

This idea has gained momentum as Peru, Bolivia and Brazil join forces to build a corridor that would stretch over 3,800 km from the port of Santos, in Brazil, across Bolivia to the port of Ilo, in Peru. If fully implemented, the mixed-use railway (for both cargo and passengers) will cut the costs of transporting commodities and other goods along the usual trade routes, which require ships to navigate either through the Panama Canal or around Cape Horn. The railway would cut the time required to take goods from Brazil and Bolivia to Asian markets by 20 days.

The project idea dates back to the 2000s but only started taking shape after a conference was held in 2016. Feasibility studies have already been carried out to identify the investments needed in each of the three countries. In Brazil and Bolivia, stretches of track are already in place but would have to be rehabilitated in order to accommodate much heavier traffic. In Peru, most of the railway would have to be built from scratch, along with dozens of bridges and tunnels cutting across the tricky mountainous terrain of the Andes. While it is not yet clear who will finance and build the railway, European countries such as Switzerland and Germany have expressed interest.

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