"It's a real proposal and it's quite advanced," Colombian president
Juan Manuel Santos told the Financial Times. "The studies [the Chinese]
have made on the costs of transporting per tonne, the cost of
investment, they all work out."

The new line will run from the Pacific to a new city near Cartagena
where imported Chinese goods would be assembled and subsequently
distributed throughout the Americas. In return, Colombian raw
materials, in particular coal, would be exported to China.
The Financial Times also reported details of additional Colombian
transport projects backed by the Chinese that would boost the country's
ties with Asia's and support Santos' goal to improve ageing
infrastructure.

This includes an estimated $US 7.6 billion project, financed by the
Chinese Export Bank, to build an 791km railway and rehabilitate the
port of Buenaventura, facilitating the movement of 40 million tonnes of
freight from the country's heartland to the Pacific with priority going
to coal for the Chinese.

Colombia is the world's fifth largest coal producer, but at present
most is exported from Atlantic ports despite growing demand on the
other side of the Pacific.