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Chinese companies, Argentina further railway cooperation with four new deals

TIME:2020-12-17 10:17   SOURCE:    WRITER:

BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese companies and Argentina took another step forward on Friday in railway cooperation after signing four new agreements, which will strengthen Argentina's connectivity and export capacity and generate jobs.

The contracts worth some 4.7 billion U.S. dollars represent "extremely important investments and an auspicious start for the country in the matter of railway development," Argentine Minister of Transport Mario Meoni said in an interview with Xinhua and other local media.

Companies involved in optimizing Argentina's rail network include China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), China Machinery Engineering Corporation, CRRC Corporation Limited and Yutong.

The agreements call for rehabilitating northern Argentina's Belgrano Cargas railway with an investment of more than 816 million dollars, reactivating the San Martin Cargas railway with an investment of over 2.6 billion dollars, and a memorandum of understanding to upgrade the Norpatagonico Train through southern Argentina, an infrastructure project which will require an investment of 784 million dollars.

The fourth agreement calls for the "incorporation of rolling stock" of the passenger train network that serves commuters in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area and the transportation systems of 13 other Argentine provinces, at a total investment of 500 million dollars.

Meoni highlighted the significance of the agreements to bolstering infrastructure, connecting productive regions with ports and creating jobs.

Work on the Belgrano Cargas railway is already underway and "will allow us to connect the provinces of Santiago del Estero, Tucuman, Salta, Catamarca, Jujuy, Chaco and Santa Fe," Meoni said.

That project "really has a very big impact on employment," generating "more than 3,500 direct jobs," Meoni added.

With the help of CRCC, Argentina is working to better link the western province of Mendoza with the ports of Rosario and Buenos Aires to the east, by reactivating the San Martin Cargas railway, which crosses five key agricultural provinces.

"The comprehensive reconstruction of the railway network of this important line crosses the center of the country, has extraordinary connectivity and also generates a very significant number of jobs," said Meoni.

The southern Norpatagonico line will benefit the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Rio Negro and Neuquen along 660 km and generate 5,420 jobs, according to information provided by the Argentine Presidency.

"We understand that it is a development train for the future of the entire southern region of the country, and it seems extremely important to us that we can count on this train," said Meoni.

Cooperation with China presents Argentina an opportunity to lower transportation costs while boosting the competitiveness of agricultural exports, noted Meoni.

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