September 20, 2013

Argentine government takes control of FerroCentral

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Argentine government takes control of FerroCentral Keith Fender

JUST days after announcing the renationalisation of the Mitre and Sarmiento commuter lines in Buenos Aires, the Argentine government revealed on September 19 that it plans to revoke the FerroCentral long-distance passenger concession and return the services to state control.

FerroCentral operates trains from Buenos Aires to Rosario, Cordoba, and Tucuman, as well as the Cordoba – Vila Maria service, carrying around 200,000 passengers per year. The operator was formed in 2005 and is a joint venture between Nuevo Central Argentino and Ferrovías.

Under resolution 1093/13, which was issued by the Ministry of the Interior and Transport, responsibility for FerroCentral services will pass to state-owned train operator Sofse. The resolution also decrees that all nationalised infrastructure is transferred to infrastructure manager Adif.

Sofse and Adif will be required to carry out an audit of all FerroCentral assets within 60 days of the takeover, and draw up operational and maintenance plans for the railway.

"We're going to prove the state is a better train operator than any private company," Argentinean president Mrs Christina Kirchner said on September 17, defending the government's decision to extend state control to a greater proportion of the railway network.

In June the government revoked the 30-year concessions for the former San Martin and Mesopotámico and San Martin networks from Latin American Logistics (ALL) and the Ministry of the Interior and Transport announced in February it would make the government's takeover of the Belgrano Cargas network permanent.

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