Bolivia hopes to join Chinese-backed transcontinental rail project

Updated: 2015-06-17 14:50


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LA PAZ - Bolivian President Evo Morales said here on Tuesday a proposed transcontinental rail route cutting across South America should pass through Bolivia.

The project currently plans for a railway linking Brazil's Atlantic coast with Peru's Pacific coast to create a transport corridor for Latin American exports to Asia.

At a press conference, Morales said it would reduce costs and time for the railroad to pass through Bolivia, according to the Bolivian News Agency.

Morales said he would present his proposal at an upcoming meeting with Peru's President Ollanta Humala on June 23.

"We will take advantage of the meeting of presidents and cabinet ministers from Bolivia and Peru to explain to President Ollanta Humala the comparative advantages of a Brazil-Bolivia-Peru bi-coastal corridor, such as the cost and the solution of environmental problems presented by the route between Brazil and Peru," he said.

A corridor starting from Peru's southern port of Ilo that passes through Bolivia to the port of Santos in Brazil provides a shorter and cheaper solution compared with the original plan by Brazil, Peru and China, he added.

With a week to go before the meeting, Morales said he has already prepared a feasibility study on the technical, social, economic and environmental impact of a tri-national route.

The coast-to-coast railway was one of the main cooperation projects between China and Latin America promoted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his four-nation tour of South America in May, which included Peru and Brazil.

A joint feasibility study on the proposed train is expected to be ready by May 2016.