Brazil Has as Many Railway Tracks as in 1922: 18,000 miles

Brazil locomotive from Conrail The 11 concessionaire companies working in the Brazilian railway system should invest 3.7 billion Brazilian reais (US$ 1.9 billion) by the end of this year, in comparison with 2.4 billion reais (US$ 1.2 billion) invested last year, according to a report issued by the National Agency for Land Transport (ANTT), which initiated a process for regulating the sector in 2002.

Last year, cargo railway transport supply increased by 0.1% over 2005; whereas in 2004 and 2005 there was a 2.9% rise, and in 2002 and 2003, there was an increase of 7.6%, according to the report.

The sector's transport production capacity increased by 3.7% in comparison with 2005. Last year, 389.1 million tons were transported.

The ANTT report shows a 20.5% decrease in the rate of railway accidents, and points to investments of 11.9 billion reais (US$ 6.2 billion) since 14 provider companies started operating, after the sector's privatization process was concluded in 1998.

The Brazilian railway cargo transport system, according to the report, counts on 11 concessionaires, which have 2,691 customers, most (828) of whom concentrate in the Central-Atlantic Railway (FCA).

Only the companies Ferrovias Bandeirantes S.A.(Ferroban) and FCA reported negative results last year, in comparison with 2005. Transport includes shipments of ores, steel products, fuel, agricultural products, and cement.

Presently, the country has 29,596 kilometers (18,390 miles) of railway tracks, a length similar to that of 1922, which goes to show that in 85 years, the sector did not accompany the country's economic expansion and the rise in demographic occupation.

The setting of a regulatory mark, which also involves metropolitan train lines, has been allowing for a rise in investments, according to the ANTT, as the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) financed 408 million reais (US$ 213.3 million) out of those investments.

Also according to the report, orders for train cars since 2002 have increased the installed production capacity, which currently stands at 7,000 units per year, but tracks and locomotives are still purchased from abroad.

The Agency also highlights the regulation of tourist, historic-cultural and commemorative transport – which covers 967 kilometers (601 miles) in the country, and includes the Pantanal Train, the trains of Campo Grande and Corumbá (midwestern Brazilian state of Mato Grosso), and the Corcovado/Cosme Velho train, in the southeastern Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro.

ABr

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