BRAZIL: The federal government signed contracts with six groups on December 9 authorising them to progress nine railway construction projects which would add an estimated 3 507 km to the national network using R$50bn in private funding.


The schemes are the first to be authorised under the government’s Pro Trilhos initiative, which is intended to encourage private investment into railway expansion. The schemes have been authorised under the government’s new ‘Legal Framework for Railways’, which is expected to be faster and less bureaucratic than the traditional concession model.

Submissions from the promoters are initially reviewed by the National Land Transport Secretariat and then sent to the land transport agency ANTT for a more detailed analysis. This is intended to ensure that the projects would be complementary to the current or planned network, and compliant with national transport policies.

According to Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, the ministry has received 36 proposals since the scheme was launched in September, envisaging 11 142 km of new railway in 14 states and a total investment of R$150bn. Of these, 17 have so far been certified by ANTT as compliant.


During the ceremony on December 9, contracts were signed with Bracell, Ferroeste, Grão Pará, Macro Development, Petrocity and Planalto Piauí Participações. Other than Ferroeste, which already holds a railway operating concession, the other promoters are new to the sector, being mainly linked to freight shippers or port terminal operators.

Cellulose manufacturer Bracell intends to build two lines in the Santos region of São Paulo. One is a 4·3 km spur to connect its factory in Lençóis Paulistas to the Port of Santos; costed at R$40m, this would carry 1 million tonnes of eucalyptus logs per year. A second 19·5 km line priced at R$200m would run from Lençóis Paulistas to the existing rail network at Pederneiras, for the movement of wood pulp; this is expected to carry 1·7 million tonnes/year. The two projects are expected to create around 2 500 direct and indirect jobs.

As current concessionaire of the Paraná Oeste railway, Ferroeste has been authorised to develop three separate schemes. One is a 286 km extension of its line from Cascavel in Parana to Chapecó in the west of Santa Caterina, mainly for the movement of agricultural produce. This project is valued at R$6·4bn, and would support 122 000 jobs.

A second line would run for 166 km from Cascavel to Foz do Iguaçu, creating an international transport corridor leading to the port of Paranaguá. This is costed at R$3·1bn and would support 47 500 jobs. Ferroeste will also build a 76 km branch in Mato Grosso, linking grain producers at Maracaju with soya and corn processing plants at Dourados, costed at R$1·2bn and supporting 18 400 jobs.


Grão Pará Multimodal, which operates the Alcântara Port Terminal in Maranhão, has been authorised to build a 520 km line from Alcântara to Açailândia at a cost of R$5·2bn. This would connect the port with Açailândia, a hub for iron production and cattle farming. The railway would connect with the northern section of the Ferrovia Norte-Sul and intersect the Carajás Railroad. Projected to carry upto 50 million tonnes of general cargo, bulk liquids and containers per year, the line is forecast to support around 100 000 jobs.

Business management consultancy Macro Development has been authorised to progress proposals for a 610&bsp;km railway connecting limestone, slate and sand mining regions in Sete Lagoas and iron ore mines at Conceição do Mato Dentro with Porto Central at Presidente Kennedy in Espírito Santo. Valued at R$14·3bn, this railway is projected to carry 26 million tonnes/year, mainly bulk minerals and iron ore, and offers the potential for creating 215 000 jobs.

The Petrocity Ferrovias subsidiary of Petrocity Portos SA is promoting the 1 108 km Juscelino Kubitschek Railway, which would connect Brasília to Barra de São Francisco in Espírito Santo via Formosa and Minas Gerais. This would carry a variety of minerals, wood, grain, cotton, timber and iron and steel products. A total investment of R$14·2bn is envisaged, of which R$13·5bn is needed for the railway and R$700m for the development of six transhipment and logistics zones along the route. This project is also expected to generate around 215 000 jobs.

Mining company Planalto Piauí Participações e Empreendimentos intends to build a 717 km railway in the Transnordestina corridor, linking its iron ore deposits at Piauí in Pernambuco with a planned export terminal on the island of Cocaia, near Suape. Expected to carry around 6 million tonnes of ore per year, this line is costed at R$5·7bn and would support 87 000 new jobs.

During the ceremony, Gomes de Freitas commented that these initial nine schemes represented a total investment of more than seven times the ministry’s entire R$7bn budget for 2021.