China, Brazil, and Peru have agreed to prepare a feasibility study for the proposed transcontinental railroad that would link Peru’s Pacific coast with Brazil’s Atlantic coast. The fact that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was in Brazil for the announcement suggests the importance of the project for the Latin American countries and, perhaps even more so, for China.
The project, known as the ‘bi-oceanic railway,’ intends to promote economic development along its course while speeding industrialization and urbanization in the wider region. In the feasibility study, the three countries have stressed the project’s efforts to address environmental protection and biodiversity concerns. Meanwhile, China has accumulated a wealth of experience in railway construction over the past few decades, noting that ‘made in China’ equipment would have advantages in terms of safety and cost, which has translated into China winning several international rail tender competitions. China has also agreed that technology transfer and related cooperation will be project priorities.
The project, which seeks to reduce transportation costs while improving the competitiveness of exports from the region, will cost an estimated US$30 billion, and will link the Peruvian Pacific coast to Brazil under the official name of Central Bi-Oceanic Corridor Railway (CFBC). It will turn Peru into a ‘hub’ (connection center) of the South American Pacific, but also promote the entire region. Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, for example, will be able to generate interconnection projects with the CFBC, and this could be the birth of a large network of rapid communication in South America as exists on other continents.