Siemens including dozens of German companies have attended meetings in Bolivia to discuss the construction of a coast-to-coast railway that will run through Brazil, Bolivia and Peru. According to officials from Germany and Bolivia, if plans push through, it can speed up exports of corn and soybeans to Asia.
The extraordinary $10 billion project involves the construction of a 3,700 kilometre (2,299 miles) rail line across the South American continent. The rail line will link the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and will pass through mountains and jungles. According to Rainer Bomba, Germany’s State Secretary of German Transport, Building and Urban Development, the rail line will be the project of the century.
Representatives from Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia including Germany and Switzerland are still considering whether the train route is feasible particularly since it will drastically shorten the shipping routes of prime commodities from Brazil’s coast to Asian markets.
Siemens’ one of Europe’s top engineering groups is present in the meetings to gain as much information as possible regarding the project. In an email, Dennis Hoffman, spokesperson for Siemens, said that since the project is on its early stages, many questions have to be clarified.
The March discussions come after a similar Chinese-led project to construct a South American railway ran into roadblocks because of concerns regarding costs and the environment. Since 40 German companies attended the meetings, it demonstrates that Germany is highly involved in the planning phase and eventually the realization phase.
According to USDA, Brazil expects to export 28 million tons of corn and about 61 million tons of soybeans from the 2016-17 crop year. Land-locked Bolivia has long planned for a corridor to the Pacific because Chile took its coastline in a war in the late 19th century. Political issues have been resolved so that technical work can now move forward.
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