The Ministry of the Interior and Transport announced last October it would take over the operation of the railway from public-private concessionaire Soesa for a 90 day period in an effort to improve operations. Following the completion of a review, the government now plans to invest in the network and says it will order new locomotives and wagons from Chinese suppliers to replace life-expired equipment.
The metre-gauge railway, which links northwestern Argentina with Buenos Aires, is currently being managed by Sofse, a state-owned company, under a team led by Mr Alfredo Cargniello a former private railway director. A new operator will be established to take over the network on a permanent basis.
Belgrano Cargas was put in the hands of Soesa in 2006 following the failure to find a concessionaire, but the railway has continued to deteriorate over the last seven years. Currently only 5052km of the 7347km network is operational and freight traffic has plunged from 1.74 million tonnes in 1999 to less than 369,000 tonnes in the first half of 2012.