INTRO: The prospects for Argentina’s freight operators are set to brighten once the protracted process of renegotiating their concession contracts comes to an end, but government funding will be needed for infrastructure investment if rail is to meet its full potential. Enrique Garibotto reports

BY THE END of the 1980s the government was no longer willing to continue meeting the huge deficits run up by Argentinian Railways (FA), and plans were developed for splitting up the state-owned network and awarding concession to private operators. The first privately-operated freight train was dispatched by Ferroexpreso Pampeano (Fepsa) on November 1 1991, and the privatisation process was completed on October 22 1993 with FA’s former General Urquiza operation, now ALL-Mesopot