The construction of a highway corridor connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean is going to simplify the transfer of agricultural production and make possible the growth of exports of Brazilian grain, mainly to Asia.
With approximately 3,000 kilometers (1864 miles) in length, the highway, which is going to cover Brazil, Bolivia and Chile, should be inaugurated in September 2009. This information was disclosed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Brazil.
Products like sugarcane, soy and cotton should be the main products benefited by the initiative. Large-scale cattle farming and agro-industry should also feel the effects of the highway. The government estimates that foreign trade of grain should reach 135 million tons by 2010.
According to the Agriculture and Cooperative Development secretary at the Ministry, Márcio Portocarrero, transport is one of the main bottlenecks currently faced by Brazilian agricultural production and, with a new route, access to the Asian market, for example, which is a great consumer of agricultural products, should become easier.
Another advantage of transfer through the Pacific is that there should be reduction of around 7,000 kilometers in the maritime route when considering the route currently taken on the Atlantic Ocean.
The main advantage of the highway, according to Portocarrero, will be the reduction of transport cost. Comparing Brazil with the United States, the main global producer of soy, Brazil spends up to ten times more to transport one ton of soy produced in the Midwest of Brazil to China.
In Brazil, the government is investing 340 million Brazilian reais (US$ 214 million) in highway works, which will cover a length of 1,500 kilometers, to the border with Bolivia.
The highway will then cover another 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) in Bolivia and finally 233 kilometers (145 miles) in Chile. From one end to the other, the corridor should connect Santos, in São Paulo, to the ports of Arica and Iquique, in Chile.