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Valec to be transformed in Railroad concessionaire

Valor Econômico - 02/01/2008

Valec, the state-owned company created for the construction of the North-South railroad (Ferrovia Norte-Sul), will become a major concessionaire, responsible for the elaboration and execution of the future railroad projects of the country, including the high-speed railroad between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. "We are developing a large integrated network of railroads in the country, and it is Valec that will handle the integration", informed the Minister of Transports Alfredo Nascimento to Valor; he foresees the issuance of a provisional executive order to interconnect the currently existing railroad segments and extend Valec's area of operation for February. "Valec is the company that will handle the country's railroad system; it will contract the connections between railroads, define the bidding rules, promote auctions, and perform the evaluation on how much a specific concession will be worth for 25 years", summarizes the Minister while detailing the government plans for creating a national network of integrated railroads and increasing the competition among the current operators. Valec will have the concessions of the future railroads, but it may carry out "sub-concessions" to the private sector, as it did in 2007 in the North-South railroad segment from Açailândia to Palmas, granted to Vale for little less than R$ 1.5 billion (US$ 852.3 million). "At this first moment, we make use of the existing wide-gauge rails to connect the whole network in the Southeast, Northeast, North and Midwest", says the Minister. "In the South of the country, which is connected to the rest of the network, we will make the connections of the metric gauge lines existing there". With the execution of the railroad plans integration he believes the Midwestern producers may choose between the ports of Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia (Ilhéus), Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (Santos) for the outflow of their products, for instance. He foresees that the transportation cost will be reduced; it will "certainly" go down with the opening of alternative ways. The railroad network foreseen by the government will have 4.1 thousand kilometers built in wide gauge and 1.3 thousand kilometers in metric gauge (one meter of distance between the rails), which is slower and has smaller capacity transportation. The only project intended by the government for the passenger railroad transport is the high speed train between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which should have, as a base of study, a project which has already been elaborated by the Italian Italplan, with the forecast of US$ 9 billion in expenses and 402 kilometers of rails.