COLOMBIA: National concession agency INCO has given its approval for the concession to upgrade and operate the 498 km Pacific rail network to be transferred to a new owner, Ferrocarril del Oeste SA.

The 30-year concession had originally been awarded in 1998 to Tren de Occidente, but in 2006 INCO began legal proceedings to cancel the agreement on the grounds that the concessionaire had failed to meet investment commitments and traffic targets (RG 5.06 p241).

Over the remainder of the concession, the new owners are expected to invest US$12·2m in new locomotives and wagons, as well as upgrading infrastructure between Yumbo and Zamorano. It is hoped to increase traffic from its present level of 30 000 tonnes a month to 600 000 tonnes in the first year of operations by the new owners, with 1·1 million tonnes the target for the third year.