BRAZILIAN freight railway Rumo began operating services on the southern São Simão - Estrela D’Oeste section of the North-South Railway on March 4, five months ahead of schedule, after last year spending Reais 711m ($US 122.5m) on infrastructure works on the section.

Rumo was awarded a 30-year concession to operate the central and southern sections of the North-South Railway in March 2019, with the contract comprising 1537km between Porto Nacional and Estrela D'Oeste under the Malha Central project.

The line is designed to carry agricultural produce from the states of Goiás and Tocantins, which is exported through the Port of Santos. Infrastructure works along the section included the construction of four bridges and sections of track between the states of Goiás, Minas Gerais and São Paulo, as well as a shunting yard in Estrela D’Oeste.

The line has three terminals to serve the southwest region of Goiás, east of Mato Grosso and the Triângulo Mineiro. The São Simão Terminal is the first to become operational, with a capacity of 5 million tonnes per year. The Iturama terminal should be ready by the end of the first half of 2022, while the Rio Verde terminal is due to be inaugurated in the middle of 2021.

“It is a multimodal terminal, which will also handle fuel and containers, and will be the largest in the Central Network,” says Rumo president, Mr João Alberto Abreu.