ARGENTINA: President Cristina Fernández and Minister of the Interior & Transport Florencio Randazzo met with China Machinery Engineering Corp President Zhang Chun on December 5, as the government signed a funding agreement for a US$2·47bn upgrade of the Belgrano Cargas network, comprising 7 347 route-km mostly in northern Argentina.

CMEC is to finance the acquisition of new rolling stock, expected to comprise 50 diesel locomotives and 2 200 wagons, as well as repairs to 50% of the existing fleet. Track renewals are also to be undertaken to revive the 1 000 mm gauge freight network which Randazzo said was of 'strategic' importance to the national economy.

'Producers in the interior of the country will recognise the importance of this news, because it will mean the return of the freight train as the key to reducing transport costs', he said.