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Zhang Xiaolun inspects Argentina Belgrano Freight Railway Reconstruction Project



Zhang Xiaolun, chairman of Sinomach, listens to the progress report at the site of the Argentina Belgrano Freight Railway Reconstruction Project in Rosario, Argentina on Nov 12. [Photo/]

Aimed at actively implementing the national policy and solidly propelling related work, Zhang Xiaolun, chairman of Sinomach, went to the site of the Argentina Belgrano Freight Railway Reconstruction Project on Nov 11 and 12, which is undertaken by the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), a subsidiary of Sinomach. He investigated the project progress and made demands regarding the work.

Zhang listened to the situations of project implementation and CMEC’s market development in Argentina and its neighboring countries on Nov 11.

The project is currently progressing smoothly. By November 2019, seventy percent of the project had been completed on schedule. It has improved transportation, grain exports and employment in seven provinces and helped Argentina cultivate a large number of railway technical and construction talents, providing it with a mature localized operational capacity.

After completion, the railway, together with railways of other countries including Chile and Brazil, will form a network across South America. It will boost the import and export of products among South American countries, and facilitate the development and transportation of Argentina's agricultural and mineral products, greatly increasing Argentina’s employment rate and maintaining its economic and social stability.

The project has broken new ground for China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. Since its implementation, Sinomach on behalf of China’s companies has impressed the Argentina’s railway industry with its high-quality products, timely and thoughtful after-sales services and reasonable prices.

Zhang also made suggestions on Sinomach’s upcoming engineering construction work in Latin America. He required the company’s subsidiaries to further develop regional markets and broaden cooperation in emerging areas. He also made specific demands on overseas staff living arrangements.

As a natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Latin America plays an indispensable role in Belt and Road construction. Zhang emphasized that Sinomach must upgrade its international level of operation and strive to build an all-round and multi-level cooperation pattern. The company will go all out to do better in project construction and cultural exchanges relying on principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits to push Belt and Road construction to a higher level.

Zhang went to the construction site in Rosario to investigate project progress. Lemos, chairman of Belgrano Cargas y Logística SA, introduced the detailed construction plan of the project to Zhang.

By the end of last year, with implementation of the project, the total traffic volume of the Belgrano Cargas y Logística was up 78% from 2015 when the project began. It is estimated that after completion of the project the company’s traffic volume will increase by up to five times from its trough in 2015. The project once completed will greatly benefit agriculture and industry along the route, driving local employment and railway construction as well as improving local living standards.

Zhang subsequently paid a visit to Zou Xiaoli, Chinese ambassador to Argentina. Zhang introduced Sinomach’s participation in Belt and Road construction, especially its business development in Argentina and other South American countries. He expressed his gratitude to the embassy for its consistent support for the company and its subsidiaries. Zou said that Sinomach has achieved good results in the Argentine market and the embassy is willing to provide sustained support. He also expressed his hope that Sinomach will make greater efforts to promote Belt and Road construction and strengthen China- Argentina cooperation.

The construction site of the Argentina Belgrano Freight Railway Reconstruction Project [Photo/]

The Argentina Belgrano Freight Railway was built in 1876, but most of the railway gradually became obsolete due to the adjustment of Argentina's national policy and economic instability. In 2011, the Argentine government proposed the railway revitalization plan, determined to upgrade the national railway. In December 2013, CMEC signed a contract with its Argentine counterpart for the railway’s transformation with a total amount of 2.47 billion dollars.

The project is the largest of its kind in railway transportation cooperation between China and Argentina, and is highly valued by the leaders of the two countries. The Argentine government has taken this project as a core of the Belgrano Plan which is aimed at revitalizing the northern region of Argentina. EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) of the CEMC side is mainly in civil engineering and material supply.

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