Cepa proposes ports be concessioned separately from RR

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

El Salvadorian national ports authority Cepa has proposed that the presidential technical board award a concession to operate the ports of La Unión and Acajutla separately from a possible plan to reactivate a railway network connecting the two, a Cepa official told BNamericas.

This is contrary to a previous report in local paper La Prensa Gráfica, which quoted Cepa president Hugo Barrera as saying that the ports and railways would be offered under a single concession.

"There has been an error in the paper. What president Barrera said is that the development of La Unión is intimately linked with the development of the railway line. He has not said that the port system concession must be tied in this concession with the railway system," said the Cepa official.

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Some firms, however, have shown interest in the railway concession, added the official, who did not say how much cargo would be managed at the two ports, or how much of this cargo would eventually travel along the country's inland rail and highway transport networks.

The line, however, would have to be reactivated, as sections of it no longer work in Guatemala and El Salvador, another official from Cepa's national railway association Fenadesal told BNamericas.

The line would connect La Unión, on the country's eastern border with Honduras, with Acajutla, on its western border with Guatemala, and could pass through capital San Salvador, said the official.

The line would also connect El Salvador's two ports, on the Pacific coast, with Guatemala's Barrios port, and Honduras' Cortés port, thus providing a transoceanic "dry canal," the official confirmed.