During a relevant meeting held between the authorities of Terminal Cuenca del Plata and the main executives of AFE, they discussed the importance of building a train access into our country’s main port.

On May 19 the main executives of the State Railroad Administration visited the terminal with the managers of Terminal Cuenca del Plata, and witnessed the work in progress being carried out by the multinational Katoen Natie as part of a new project that will represent the greatest investment ever made in the Port of Montevideo.

A railroad that can enter the country’s main port and its container terminal defines the relevance of multimodality for incoming and outgoing cargo. This will position the Port of Montevideo as a strong regional hub.

The meeting ended with a visit to the container terminal’s construction works as part of their new investment project, and a view of the old railroad tracks that still remain within the terminal. The visitors from AFE were: the president of the company, Arq. Miguel Vaczky, the Vice President Gustavo Osta, Director William Kelland, Gonzalo Peinado, Fernando Silveira, Jorge Borges and Eduardo García.

As considered by TCP’s main executives, connectivity via railroad with Argentina and Brazil “is vital to the success of the future container terminal”. “Any hub port needs the widest options of multimodality. Unfortunately, the railroad has been absent from the port of Montevideo for many years, and this is certainly something that must be resolved”, said Gonzalo Hontou, Commercial Manager of Katoen Natie Terminal Cuenca del Plata.

Hontou emphasized that the construction by UPM of a railroad access into the port of Montevideo could not have come at a better time, and that the train being inserted between the ships and the trucks “is key for the port to achieve a sustainable development as a hub for the region”.

He assured that if Uruguay achieves an efficient connectivity with Argentina, there will be much import and export cargo that will not need to enter into Buenos Aires, but can easily use Montevideo as an option. 

On the other hand, the President of AFE, Miguel Vaczky, considered that meeting very important and declared that the development of the railroad, from a political and technical standpoint, “is vital to improve Uruguay’s exporting possibilities and to reduce freight prices, making our country more competitive.

 “AFE is currently undergoing a process to reinvent itself. We are working hard to make the state railroad a true manager of infrastructure.  Our function today is not to transport cargo, but to make the railroad viable; that means that we are dedicated to the maintenance and construction of railroad tracks, and putting together a new center of traffic control”, said Vaczky.

He explained that the central railroad will have the capacity to move 4 million tons per year, of which UPM alone will use 50 per cent. “Therefore, there will be capacity for 2 million tons to be assigned to any other operator.

Andrés Arocena, TCP Board Director in representation of ANP (Port Authority), assured that there is no modern port in the region without a railroad. “It is amazing what we are achieving as a country, as a port, to develop port infrastructure together with AFE, who can give us connectivity with Argentina and Brazil. Our idea is to have the trains enter the port, next to the ship, to load/unload cargo from wagon to ship and vice versa; and this will not only be good for Uruguayan cargo, it will be great for all containers. The Port of Montevideo cannot only serve Uruguay, it must be a regional port; that is what makes a hub.

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