According to TMB, the 10-month study will look at options for a link between the mines of southeastern Ecuador with the port of Puerto Bolívar. TMB will also examine the feasibility of establishing passenger services between major cities such as Guayaquil and the capital Quito.

INP says the study will develop a conceptual model for the network, including the best technological, economic, financial, and environmental options for the project.

At present the only railway in Ecuador is the 965km 1067mm-gauge line from San Lorenzo in the north the Cuenca and Guayaquil in the south, although most of the route is in a poor state of repair with little or no regular traffic.