Appearing before a congressional committee on June 1, Argentina’s Transport Secretary Ricardo Jaime said that the government was still considering proposals to transfer a majority shareholding in Belgrano Cargas to a consortium of Macri, Roggio, Emepa and Sanhe Hopefull Grain & Oil (RG 5.06 p244). He added that if a new proposal came to light, the government and Unión Ferroviaria which currently controls the freight operator ’will have to examine it to see if it is suitable for reviving the railway’.

Jaime also confirmed that the government was likely to increase its stake in Belgrano Cargas from the current 1%, and that the 14 provinces served by the metre-gauge network were likely to be granted a similar holding under the new structure. It is expected that around 73% of the company will be held by the private sector, with unions representing rail and road transport workers also holding a stake.

On May 19 Jaime had signed an agreement with the Río Tercero armaments factory in Córdoba province to repair 300 wagons for Belgrano Cargas, starting with an initial batch of 50. The contract will create 40 new jobs and in the medium term new wagons may also be built at the plant. n