09 June 2020
As part of its forecast for 2030, the new National Logistics Policy (CONPES 3982 of 2020) expects that the cargo transported by rail will increase by more than 27 million tons, while river cargo will increase by more than 9 million. The commitment to intermodal transport responds to Colombia’s need to more efficiently connect the hinterland with the ports on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

As such, the National Government has prioritized the following investment projects in rail and river infrastructure that are included in the package of initiatives to reactivate Colombia’s economy, following the crisis caused by COVID-19.


Regarding railway projects, the La Dorada-Chiriguaná Corridor—a PPP that began as a public venture—stands out. This project is currently in the process of technical, legal, and financial structuring, which will conclude in October 2020 and amount to US $465 million. This public bid is expected to open in early 2021.


Furthermore, it is important to mention that the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI, as per its Spanish acronym) confirmed the expiration of the Pacific Rail Network Concession Contract—which had been awarded to Concesionario Ferrocarril del Pacífico SAS—due to serious and direct breach of contractual obligations.


Moving forward, ANI is expected to restructure the project and study the various alternatives that might allow its re-entry into a bidding process. The project is made up of a 498-km rail network divided into two sections. The first—380 km from Buenaventura to Zaragoza, was managed by the Ferrocarril del Pacífico SAS concession, and had an expected completion date set for 2030—will begin the process of contract reversal and settlement. The second part, a 118-km section stretching from Zaragoza to La Felisa and managed by Sociedad Tren de Occidente SA-TDO, remains active.


Regarding the river infrastructure sector, the PPP Recovery Project for the Navigability of the Magdalena River stands out, currently in the pre-qualification phase. The process is published in the Electronic Public Procurement System (SECOP, as per its Spanish acronym), which states the legal and financial requirements, as well as investment experience necessary for those interested in participating in the bidding process. The investment is worth US $460 million and includes the construction of channeling works and maintenance dredging, as well as the recovery of the dikes and directional levees in the access channel to Barranquilla.


The following link includes details on how to participate in the pre-qualification process that closes in July 2020: https://www.contrato.gov.co/consultas/detalleProceso.do?numConstancia=19...


Lastly, the Canal del Dique project is also worth noting. This project aims to connect the Magdalena River with the ports of Cartagena via a 117-km channel, and its PPP requires an investment of US $1.959 billion. The pre-qualification for this project will open before the end of June 2020.