Ricardo Frontera freight train

Rise in Brazil’s rail freight volumes

Brazil´s rail freight volumes have increased by 6.9 per cent to 538.8 million tonnes in 2017, compared with the previous year, the Brazilian government revealed. The handled tonnes per kilometre increased by 10 perc cent. These figures represent the best results in the last twelve years.

Iron accounted for 77 per cent of the total cargo handled, having increased by 4.7 per cent to 416.4 million tonnes  last year. There are twelve private rail freight companies in Brazil. Ferrocaril Carajas, which transports iron from the states of Para and Maranhão to the Port of Itaqui, increased its volumes by 14.1 per cent, looking at te tonnes per kilometer.

Not all rail companies witnessed an increase, however. Rumo Logistica, which carries freight from the state of São Paulo to the Port of Santos, saw a decline of its tonnes per kilometer by 24.4 per cent. The president of the Brazil’s Railway Industry Association Abifer, Vicente Abate, noted that he would like to see a renewal of the concession contract signed with the company in April.

Infrastructure upgrade

Currently, there are five rail freight companies specialised in the tranportation of iron: EFVM, MRS, FCA, EFC and Allmo. These rail freight services require urgent infrastructure upgrading and around 2,000 kilometers of new railway track, a development that implies a 25 billion Brazilian real (4.9 billion Euros) investment.

However, the rail freight companies require governmental guarantees to renew their freight concessions in exchange for making the needed investment. This request runs counter to opening these rail freight concessions to more rail freight companies, which would be lin line with Brazil’s free-trade laws.

Author: Jose Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez is RailFreight's correspondent in Spain.

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