A CONSORTIUM of motorway concessionaire Sideco and Sanhe Hopeful Grain & Oil Group of China has submitted to the Argentinian government a proposal for reviving the 1000mm gauge Belgrano Cargas network.

The plan involves a total investment of 2·46bn pesos over a period of 24 years. Taking a 73% stake in the company, with 15% held by the government and 12% retained by the current concessionaire Unión Ferroviaria, the private sector would provide 860m pesos, of which 130m pesos would be spent on upgrading infrastructure and rolling stock in the first three years.

The government would be expected to provide 700m pesos, while a further 900m pesos would be provided in the form of a Chinese loan to the Argentinian government. Other potential private-sector investors in the project are reported to be Emepa and Benito Roggio, currently involved in Buenos Aires suburban concessions and both bidders in the last attempt to privatise Belgrano Cargas (RG 7.05 p385).