His Excellency Mr. Jia Guide, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Peru, who participated in the workshop held on December 4, highlighted the role played by the railway in economic development and social inclusion: "An experience that we have gained from the reform and the opening to the outside is that if you want to be rich you have to build your own way. In the last 40 years approximately, the railway in China has taken a big leap with a current total operational length over 100 thousand km. "In a sense, prosperity gets where the railroad gets."
The bioceanic train project is a megaproject of China, Brazil and Peru, which foresees the construction of a railway that, together with a direct sea route through the Pacific, aims to connect the port of Tianjin in China with a Peruvian port (to be defined based on feasibility studies) and the port of Santos in Brazil.
In this sense, Ambassador Jia stressed that the bioceanic train project constitutes a strategic decision "This project traces an itinerary that crosses the South American continent, connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Not only will it open a new commercial route for the region, but it will also boost the economic development of Peru... We are in the midst of a feasibility study and I have been told that a preliminary plan has been made".
It should be pointed out that Peru is the second-largest recipient of Chinese investments in the Latin American region. That country constitutes, for Peru, the biggest supplier and destination of its imports and exports.
The event was attended by the Vice-Minister of MSEs and Industry of the Ministry of Production, Mr. Carlos Carrillo and the Director of Statistics of the General Office of Planning and Budget of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr. Telmo de la Cruz. The Chinese delegation consisted of scholars from ILAS-CASS and Renmin University. The meeting was chaired by Universidad del Pacífico Vice-President for Research, Dr. Cynthia Sanborn and the Director of the university Center for China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Dr. Rosario Santa Gadea. The list of participants is completed by Professors Roberto Urrunaga and Rosario Gómez from the infrastructure and natural resources and environment areas of Universidad del Pacífico Research Center (CIUP), respectively, as well as experts from the private sector such as Mr. Juan de Dios Olaechea, president of the Andean Central Railway and Mr. Juan Carlos León Siles, manager of the ADEX Exporters Advocacy Office. The event also included representatives of the Peruvian Society of Environmental Law and Universidad de Lima.
Dr. Chai Yu, head of the Chinese scholars’ delegation, stressed that the bioceanic corridor project is inserted within a framework of Chinese global integration initiatives, which seek to promote cooperation in all fields. "We want to focus on economic corridors, like this railway," he said.
Dr. Rosario Santa Gadea, Director of UP Center for China and Asia-Pacific Studies, highlighted the strategic vision of this interoceanic project that involves China, Brazil and Peru. "Our country always wanted to project itself as a hub or gateway for the entry and exit of commercial flows between South America and the Asian countries on the other side of the Pacific, including China".
The representatives of the Peruvian government gave a perspective of the national strategic plans on which this initiative could be focused. In this sense, the Vice Minister of SME and Industry offered an overview of the lines of action towards productive diversification and the representative of the Ministry of Transport and Communications offered a perspective on the strategic planning of transport infrastructure in the country. Specifically regarding the bioceanic train, he pointed out that it is necessary to make a demand analysis, evaluate costs and benefits and define the technology that this train would use. A first stage of the study is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016.
As regards the view from the private sector, the participants agreed that the railway provides an opportunity for the articulation of areas of Peru that are not currently well interconnected and, therefore, it is a very important support for national development. On the other hand, Peru has very high logistic costs that cannot significantly decrease without railways, which also requires the establishment of complementary logistic platforms for cargo concentration. As for the bioceanic railway, its route should pass through the north of Peru, where there is greater cargo circulation and the Andes should be crossed by the lowest point.
The academic side emphasized the fact that the country has much to do in the field of infrastructure and this requires a long-term planning that cannot be isolated from territorial planning. The bioceanic train could be an opportunity to work on the territorial ordering but it is necessary to evaluate its economic viability very precisely and project, prior to the construction of the project, the direct and indirect socio-environmental effects that can be generated. So as to achieve this, information transparency is very necessary.
The workshop concluded on the need to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of this project taking into account the economic perspective (identifying the cargo flows to the Pacific from Brazil and Peru and the return cargo that the railway would have in order to evaluate its viability); the socio-environmental perspective (evaluating indicators that allow proposing a route that ensures the least social conflict); the engineering perspective (defining the railway line according to the least geographical barriers to its operation); and the strategic perspective, in the sense of positioning Peru as the main partner of Asia-Pacific in South America, consolidating an important part of the cargo generated by foreign trade between South America and Asian markets in our ports.
More information on the topic at http://perspectivaglobal.up.edu.pe/