BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro and Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas were the principal guests at a ceremony marking signature of a 30-year concession on July 31 for Rumo SA to operate and maintain the 1 537 km southern section of the 1 600 mm gauge Ferrovia Norte-Sul linking Porto Nacional in Tocantins to Estrela d'Oeste in São Paulo state. Also present at the event in Anápolis were the Director General of the National Land Transportation Agency Mario Rodrigues Júnior and Governor of Goiás state Ronaldo Caiado. Signature of the concession follows award of the tender at the end of March when Rumo outbid rival bidder VLI with an offer worth R$2·72bn.

The southern section of the railway is divided into two. The 855 km between Porto Nacional and Anápolis is already finished and is expected to be operational by the end of this year. The 682 km section from Anápolis to Estrela d’Oeste is around 95% complete, and under the terms of the concession Rumo has two years to finish the works before operations are due to commence in 2021.

Additional clauses to adjacent concessions have been agreed to allow Rumo to have rights to operate services to and from the port of Itaqui in São Luis in Maranhão state and to and from Santos in São Paulo state. These cover agreements with MRS Logística, the operator of the northern section of Ferrovia Norte Sul VLI, Carajás Railroad and Ferrovia Transnordestina Logística.

Demand for freight services on Ferrovia Norte Sul is expected to reach 1·7 million tonnes in 2020, rising to 22·7 million tonnes by 2055. Traffic is expected to include general goods and industrial cargo from the São Paulo area to consumer centres in Goiâna, Brasilia, Palmas and Imperatriz. Grain and agricultural produce is expected to be the principal traffic moving south from the states of Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso for export through the port of Santos.