Freight rail: Networks with significant standing in Brazil

 Freight networks have significant standing in Brazil. Within the “Cities Advancements” programme, the Government is committed to tenders in the three most important projects in the country: Ferrogrão, Ferrovia Norte-Sul and the Oeste-Leste Integrated Railway.

In addition, the Logistics Investment Programme is underway which, in the railway sector, implies a new investment model, a shift away from the monopoly in the provision of transport services, as well as the expansion, modernisation and integration of the network. This initiative responds to the future prospects faced by the sector. According to the Planning and Logistics Company (EPL), the movement of freight by rail in Brazil stands at 18%. The projection for 2025 is 33%, a significant leap upwards.

Besides, EPL has issued a report to identify the needs for infrastructure improvement that are not included in the actions approved by the Government. The National Logistics Plan (NLP) prepared by this body establishes the need to invest more than 132,600 million reais (about 35.400 billion euros) in the modernisation of national roadways and railways until the year 2025. Thus far, 649 kilometres of railway network have been identified that will require investments not foreseen until 2025: the stretches of the Ferronorte network in Mato Grosso and a segment of the Santa Catarina network operated by the tenderer Tereza Cristina. Also, private transport tender operators also foresee improving the efficiency of their networks.

Northbound-Southbound Railway

This project has been designed to become the backbone of freight rail transport in Brazil. Invitations to bid will be called for on a stretch of 1,537 kilometres, which will link Estrelad’Oeste, in São Paulo, with Puerto Nacional, in the State of Tocantins. The aim is to strategically integrate the national territory. The project’s implementation, which has a forecast investment of 2.7, has been entrusted to the firm VALE.


The Ferrogrão railway project will create a corridor of 1,142 kilometres in length. This line will connect the grain-producing region (soybean and corn) of the Midwest with the State of Pará and will end at Puerto Miritituba (in the northern region of Brazil). Investments are estimated at BRL 12.6 billion (€ 3.3 billion). Once completed, the line will transport up to 20 million tons per year of grain by 2025, reducing costs by 40%. It is estimated that total demand will reach 42.3 million tons in 2050. The estimated duration of the concession is 65 years. One of the companies involved is Cargill Inc.

Freight line in Paraná

The Government of the State of Paraná has submitted plans for a new freight railway that will improve the flow of agricultural products from the Midwest of Brazil through the Port of Paranaguá. The new 1,000 km line will connect the Dourados region, in Mato Grosso do Sul, with the Paraná coast. The estimated cost of the construction amounts to 10 billion reais (2.5 billion euros).

Section 1 of the new railway will link Guarapuava with the Port of Paranaguá and will be 400 km long. Section 2 of 350 km, which is already a Ferroeste operated tender, will extend the line from Guarapuava to Dourados, passing through Guaíra. The project also provides for the revitalisation of the existing 250 km line operated by Ferroeste between Guarapuava and Cascavel. This section will also be outsourced to sub-contractors.