Colombia's coal producers' federation Fenalcarbon has signed an agreement with the transport ministry to fund infra-structure rehabilitation on the Atlántico main line to handle additional export coal traffic to Ciénaga, where a new deep-water port is envisaged. An initial budget of 7bn pesos has been allocated for track reconstruction in the regions of Cundinamarca, Boyacá and Santander.
By the end of July the municipality of Bogotá hopes to select a consultant to develop the outline design of the first metro route in the Colombian capital. The Inter-American Development Bank has indicated that it is willing to provide US$2·5 bn towards construction in the form of a 25-year loan.
Sistema Ferroviario Central railway project attracts bids from several suitors
By Gavin Sullivan
Published: July 20 2009 13:22
Last updated: July 20 2009 13:22
Colombia’s proposed USD 602.6m overhaul of the country’s 1,050 km Sistema Ferroviario Central railway line has attracted bids from several players including Spain-based Grupo RENFE and Colombia-based Odinsa, a government source told mergermarket.
According to a spokesperson from INCO, the government entity responsible for the sale, the Colombian government is offering a 30-year operational concession of the railway in exchange for a USD 187.5m capital injection from a private partner.
The spokesperson said the government would invest USD 415m in the two-year infrastructure project that the private partner will be responsible for carrying out.
The spokesperson would not release the names of companies who have expressed interest, but noted that the project has attracted attention from both national, and multinational investors and contractors.
According to the government source, in addition to Odinsa and Grupo RENFE, US-based Translogistics, and local Colombian groups Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta, Fidupetrol and Cicon, will all likely be preparing offers.
Interested companies will have until the end of July to present offers, the spokesperson said, anticipating that a final deal would be reached with a future private partner by the end of August.
An analyst attributed the high-level of interest in Sistema Ferroviario Central to the opportunities associated with connecting the country’s natural resource rich Magdalena river valley, with the Caribbean-based ports in the coastal city of Santa Marta.
According to the analyst, the potential amount of cargo for the new rail system is estimated at 2.2m tons annually. The analyst noted that the Colombian government is expecting demand for the rail system to increase by 3.8% annually, for the duration of the 30-year concession. The types of cargo along this railway include coal, cement, iron, steel and cereal.
The analyst said another benefit for a future operator, is that upon completion of the restoration, the Sistema Ferroviario Central will link up with Concesion Ferrea del Atlantico, which operates an existing, and expansive network of railways on the Atlantic coast.
In the analyst’s opinion, the Santa Marta-based Sociedad Portuaria de Santa Marta holding, which runs the Caribbean port, would stand most to benefit from control of the railway. The analyst was, however, doubtful of the group’s ability to lead the restoration process.
Once complete, the Sistema Ferroviario Central will extend from Villavieja, in the area of Huila, to the town of Chiriguana, in the Caribbean region of Cesar.
The Colombian government has been working with advisors from the Colombia-based consultancy group, Concol on the development of the project, the spokesperson added.
The Colombian Government has set up a new team of consultants and specialists to oversee the estimated $440m Sistema Ferroviario Central railway concession.
The move follows a corruption scandal in the tender process, which led to its suspension in September.
The project involves building a 1,050 km railway from La Dorada to Chiriguaná, linking Colombia's central area to the Santa Marta port on the Atlantic coast.
The winning team will build the La Dorada stretch, renovate the stretches connecting the districts of La Dorada and Buenos Aires, Puerto Berrío and Envigado and La Dorada and Facatativa, and maintain the Chiriguaná-Buenos Aires rail stretch.
The team will also provide passenger and cargo transport services over a 30-year period.
The railway is expected to handle half of the cargo transported along the country's central corridor.
Medellín orders CAF metro trains
04 December 2009
COLOMBIA: Spanish train builder CAF has been awarded a contract to supply 12 three-car trains for the Medellín metro.
The 211bn peso order announced on December 2 is being funded by the metro together with loans from the Bogotá, Occidente and AV Villas banks. A further 57bn pesos will be spent on related works.
The 69 m trains will be similar to the existing fleet of 42 trains, with a maximum capacity of 1 145 passengers. Deliveries will start in 18 months and be completed within 24 months.
The trains are needed to increase service frequency, facilitate planned maintenance and meet future demand, in particular from the southern extension of Line A to Ancón Sur.
Medellín's metro network currently consists of two lines totalling 28·8 km with 25 stations. A western extension of Line B and a tramway along Highway 80 are also envisaged in the metro's 2020 master plan.
Given that there are several proposals for new international railways in this area, such as FERISTA and Colombia/Ecador/Venezuela which would be standard gauge, would this internal line within Colombia take the opportunity to regauge from 915 to 1435mm?
Coalcorp Mining has begun carrying coal from its La Francia mine in Colombia to Santa Marta using its own wagons on the Fenoco line, in which the mining firm owns an 8·43% stake. Unloading is undertaken by Vale.
Colombia's national planning division (DNP) is drawing up a plan to rehabilitate 1,322 km of railways that are currently inoperative.
Some of the rail lines are inoperative due to deterioration, damage, vandalism or theft, while others saw services suspended some time ago because of low cargo traffic, the official said.
Authorities are also working to determine how much of the railway should be concessioned and how much of its rehabilitation should be covered by the public sector.
Once studies are completed and the government has a clear idea of the required investment, authorities will contact multilateral organizations to request technical support and financial assistance.
While Colombia's railway network is mainly used for cargo transportation, authorities are also studying the possibility of using at least some railways for passenger transport, the official said.
Yes, the Spanish version says "tranvias".
So those will be tramways. In USA English, trolleys ; ).
Colombia's national concessions institute Incoplans to launch a tender in 2011 to concession the country's Ferroviario Central railway system.
The system will total 1,045km, connecting districts Villa Vieja, in southern department Caldas, to Chiriguana, in Cesar department.
The concession contract will involve the rehabilitation, maintenance and operation of the line, providing passenger and cargo transport services.
The project was first launched for tender in 2009, with an estimated budget of US$440mn. However, the process was declared void after corruption allegations.
At the time, the project attracted two bidders: Consorcio Sistema Ferroviario Central, comprising Spanish firms Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha (Feve) and Construcciones y Proyectos de Asturias (OCA); and Sistema Ferreo Central, made up of Colombian firms Odinsa and Valores y Contratos (Valorcon), and Noreing of the US.
Following the failed tender, Inco decided to revise the project, and is currently drawing up its technical details and financial structure.
The government expects to award the concession contract in 2012, the official said.
Colombian city Medellin's state-owned subway firm Metro de Medellin will purchase buses for the city's Metroplus mass transport system during H1, a spokesperson from the city's transport division told BNamericas.
The purchase of the buses will be financed by the municipal government, which will disburse 35bn pesos (US$18.9mn) to Metro de Medellin for the operation as part of a municipal development plan.
On January 19, Metro de Medellin's board of directors decided to accept mayor Alonso Salazar's proposal for it to begin operating Metroplus, the city's head of communications, Lina Cuartas, told BNamericas.
"This means that, as of January 19, Metro de Medellin officially became Metroplus' operator," Cuartas said.
Salazar made the request after failing to reach an agreement with current bus owners regarding their participation in the transport system.
Under the city's original plans, Medellin's bus operators would become responsible for purchasing new buses and would have had a key role in operating the system. However, the two sides failed to agree terms regarding the income.
The system, which would have been a public-private partnership, will now be fully managed by the public sector, the transport division spokesperson said.
As well as taking ov er the Metroplus, Metro de Medellin is currently working to expand its network. Two new stations in the city's southern area will be opened this year, according the spokesperson.
The firm is also working with the municipal government to plan a trolley system that will form part of the Metroplus network.
Finally, Metro de Medellin is evaluating new cable car projects to expand its Metrocable division.
BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese Government plans to cooperate with Colombia in building a 220km transcontinental railway which would link Colombia's Atlantic and Pacific coasts,according to a British newspaper.
The Financial Times quoted Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as saying on Monday.
The project is treated as one of a series of Chinese proposals that would boost transport links with Asia and improve Colombia's infrastructure, the papersaid, citing documents it has obtained.
"It's a real proposal ... and it is quite advanced," President Santos said..
"I don't want to create exaggerated expectations, but it does make a lot of sense," he said, adding that Asia is the "new motor" of the world economy.
The estimated 7.6 billion U.S. dollar project will be operated by the China Railway Group.
The Panama Canal is now the main shipping route which connects the Atlantic and Pacific commercial intercourse. It represents roughly five percent of world trade, with 13,000 to 14,000 ships passing through it every year.
The writer seems to have ignored capacity - a frequent happening in articles like this-
Colombia needs to get smart about infrastructure
TUESDAY, 15 MARCH 2011 16:34 PABLO ROJAS MEJIA
Colombia’s decaying and inadequate transport infrastructure is clearly among the country's top challenges. Poor roads and railways are one reason why the country fell in global rankings of competitiveness in tourism. Standard & Poor’s, a credit rating agency, recently cited infrastructure as one of three key factors keeping Colombia from attaining an investment grade rating, long coveted by the country’s economic policymakers.
Perhaps the only recent bright spot has been urban transport in Bogota and Medellin. The Colombian capital was the first large city in Latin America to replace a chaotic system of competing private bus companies with a revolutionary bus rapid transit system, the Transmilenio. Medellin’s MetroCable, an aerial cable car connecting poor hillside slums to economically vibrant areas downtown, has helped hundreds of thousands of people avoid a lengthy and dangerous commute on winding potholed roads that weave through gang territory. Many Latin American cities now have their own version of the Transmilenio, and most others are considering inaugurating one. The MetroCable has been copied in places including Rio de Janeiro’s Complexo do Alemao slum.
In the meantime however, intercity travel has remained costly an inconvenient. Ten years ago, the main complaint from travelers along rural highways was not congestion or potholes, but rather crime. In this sense, recent improvements in safety along major roads have had the politically inconvenient side effect of revealing their terrible inadequacy. For example, Bogota and Medellin, Colombia’s two largest cities, are only 160 miles apart geographically, but driving from one to the other, though much faster than it used to be, still takes eight hours at best. Shockingly for two cities with outstanding innovations in public transport, the roads that connect them are still narrow, winding and often very congested.
The flipside of Colombia’s poor infrastructure is that building a single tunnel or widening just one highway can make an enormous difference. A tunnel cutting through the mountains that separate Medellin from quaint colonial towns west of the city has sparked a boom in tourism in the region. A similar tunnel project to the east would cut the travel time between the city and its international airport from about one hour to less than twenty minutes. Villavicencio, a city on the foothills of the Andes and chief gateway to the country’s vast eastern plains, used to be considered worlds away from Bogota, separated by a somewhat dangerous six-hour drive on windy roads. Thanks to a new highway, today Bogotanos can reach the plains in less than 90 minutes.
The ambitious infrastructure improvements proposed under the new National Development Plan – including doubling the number of two-lane intercity highways, upgrading old airports and reviving rail networks – would cost an estimated $17b between now and 2014. This is not cheap, but the government, which seems serious about reducing the deficit, estimates that this is feasible if half of those funds come from private investors.
Indeed, many people with big pockets see in Colombia’s commitment to infrastructure an opportunity to make a lot of money. Brazilian mining baron Eike Batista, the world’s eighth richest man, recently announced his intention to invest some of his billions in the country’s infrastructure projects. Perhaps most notably, China and Colombia have discussed the idea of building a railway connecting Colombia’s Pacific and Atlantic coasts, a plan that aims to rival the Panama Canal.
But given the country’s fiscal deficit and many other challenges – escalating drug gang violence, a massive land reform initiative and stubbornly high poverty rates, just to name a few – it is essential that the country take on this task wisely and carefully. The biggest risk facing the infrastructure boom is clearly not money, but the distortive effect of petty and corrupt politics. German Cardona recently told Dinero magazine that upgrading the country’s infrastructure “is not a problem of funds, but of good management to speed up the projects.”
Take, for example, the Bogota Metro. The capital, dotted with hills and bordered by mountains, is clearly not an ideal city for a subway system. Rather than replace the Transmilenio, the Metro plan would create only one subway line running parallel to an existing bus route. At best, it would boost the city’s self esteem and temporarily reduce congestion, but at an enormous cost. Nevertheless, this politically popular idea got Samuel Moreno elected a few years ago. Among local mayoral hopefuls, it is now taboo to express any reservations about the plan for a Metro.
Bogota and Medellin’s extraordinary periods of creative urban policy and infrastructure improvements encouraged Colombian voters and politicians to dream big, but they should also remember to dream wisely. Unfortunately, as in most countries, the politics of major infrastructure projects in Colombia is complex, personal and often dirty. The country has a great opportunity and plenty of money to transform its transport infrastructure and, in turn, its economy, but if badly managed this process could also produce plenty of pork.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced Wednesday that construction on Bogota's first metro line will begin towards the end of 2012.
Speaking at an economic forum attended by various investors and businessmen in Berlin, Germany, the Colombian president fielded a question about the notoriously insufficient transportation network in the nation's capital.
"We have already given approval for the choice of who will structure the project and then comes the bid to see who is going to build it," said Santos, noting that "the government has already confirmed its interest in financing 70% of the metro, which should start to be built late next year."
The Transmilenio bus network is currently the primary form of transport around Bogota, although the proposed construction works and extensions to the network have been plagued by allegations of corruption regarding the infamous Nule Group and the local government of Bogota.
Medellin is at present the only city in Colombia with a metro system, leaving the capital trailing behind the nation's second-city in terms of efficient transport and mobility.