'World's largest' construction project in doubt

By Mike Hayes21 September 2016

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Peru’s President Ollanta Humala in 2015

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (L) and Peru’s President Ollanta Humala in 2015

A proposed tanscontinental railway line, running 5,300 km, from Brazil’s Atlantic coast to Peru’s Pacific coast, has been thrown into doubt due to its US$ 60 billion price tag.

As per the original proposal, the line would cut through both the Andes and the Amazon, potentially lowering significnantly the cost of transporting goods from Latin America to Asia.

China, which is Peru’s biggest trade partner, first suggested the rail link in 2014, and Peru agreed to a feasibility study for the project last year. At that time, a total cost of around US$ 10 billion was suggested for the line.

When a delegation from Lima met Chinese officials in Beijing, however, they admitted to being surprised by a US$ 60 billion estimate.

Peru’s vice president and transportation minister, Martin Vizcarra, told Peruvian broadcaster RPP a sum of around US$ 35 billion would be required to cover his country’s section of the line, while Brazil’s contribution would be US$ 25 billion.

“With that money,” he said, “we could build a lot of projects to benefit Peruvians.”

Chinese premier Li Keqiang told the state-run news agency Xinhua that he felt both countries would benefit from the project.

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