Chinese cargo locos arrive in Argentina
A new shipment of Chinese-made locomotives have arrived in the Port of Buenos Aires to revive Argentina's key Belgrano Cargas cargo train network.
The eight locomotives will form part of a strategic rail line that traverses northern Argentina's agricultural heartland, connecting producers with the eastern export hub of Rosario, a port located 300 kilometers north of the capital.
Manufactured by China's CRRC Qishuyan, a subsidiary of the CRRC Corporation Limited, the locomotives are part of a comprehensive plan to reactivate Argentina's rail system by modernizing its aging infrastructure.
The plan is financed by a $2.5 billion credit line under an agreement with the China Machinery Engineering Corporation.
Argentina has bought 3,500 rail cars, which have already been delivered, and 107 locomotives, along with parts, machinery, tools and shipping containers.
Han Bing, deputy director of the Belgrano Railroad Rehabilitation Project, said upgrading the rails "has not only significantly spurred China's exports to Argentina, but also turned into a model of cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative".
China is involved in renovating 1,600 kilometers of railways in six provinces in Argentina.
Equipped with heating and air conditioning, reading lights, water heaters and LED displays, the new locomotives are safer and more comfortable for the crew.
"With the arrival of the locomotives, Argentina expects a major increase in the speed of the cargo trains. The total transport time for grains and agricultural products is going to drop, which will help Argentina's economy and exports," said Zhu Li, the project's assistant deputy director.
Argentina is one of the world's leading producers of grains, but logistical costs eat up to 50 percent of revenue due to outdated rail infrastructure, a problem the country hopes to address with China's help.
"We are very satisfied with the locomotives and the train cars. The price is a significant advantage. The technology and electronics are also good," said German Hanacek, who works in the projects department of the state-run Belgrano Cargas and Logisticas company.