The Brazilian unit of international agri trader Cargill is planning to form a consortium to invest US$4.3bn in a railway project that would connect central Brazil’s soya- and grain-growing regions to waterways in the north of the country.

Possible partners in the consortium to support the construction of the Ferrogrão railway to the Port of Miritituba included Amaggi, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Bunge, Cargill Brazil’s president Luiz Pretti told Reuters on 4 December.

Stretching over 1,100km, Ferrogrão would help Brazilian farmers avoid transporting their products by truck, which relied on partially dilapidated roads and was a heavy contributor to Brazil’s emissions (see ‘Blazing the rail through Brazil’, OFI November/December 2017).

The Brazilian government planned to issue a 65-year operating license for the railway, which was intended to have the capacity to move 42M tonnes of grains annually, but no official model for the project had yet been finalised, Reuters wrote.

In addition to the Cargill-lead effort, a group of Chinese state-owned firms were also planning to form a consortium to bid for the operating license.

Cargill planned to spend 500M reals (US$153) in investments in Brazil, 70% of which was earmarked to go into infrastructure projects.