SHANGHAI, China – The proposed inter-oceanic railroad linking South America’s Atlantic coast with its Pacific shores via Brazil and Peru will cost around $60 billion, Peruvian Vice-President and Transport Minister Martin Vizcarra revealed Thursday.
Of that amount, $3.5 billion would need to be invested in Peru and $2.5 billion in Brazil, he said.
“The preliminary report says the corridor would exceed $60 billion; given these figures and other projects that could be more urgent, it has been decided to continue studying it,” said Vizcarra, who is accompanying President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on his trip to China.
The cost estimate was given by Chinese state railway construction firm China Railway Group, whose senior officials met Kuczynski in Beijing on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the Peruvian president mentioned other priority infrastructure projects in Peru, such as the 450-kilometer-long commuter train network around its capital Lima.
The Brazil-Peru Twin Ocean Railroad was proposed by China as a means of cutting the costs of transporting soybeans – which it imports from Brazil – to the Peruvian coast across a distance of 3,500km.
Previous reports had estimated a cost of $10 billion, but this was revised sixfold since due to the complex regional topography.
Vizcarra said that as the project was at a preliminary stage, it was currently unknown how much of the investment China was willing to supply.
He noted that the project was of greater interest to Brazil so it could export its agricultural produce, while Peru was “just providing passage.”
He did not rule out the project altogether but admitted “its priority has diminished.”
Vizcarra noted there were suggestions for an alternative route further south involving a third country, Bolivia, which has shown great interest in trans-American infrastructure proposals.