TVS remains confident about US$1.6bn high-speed train

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Despite recent uncertainty, consortium TVS remains optimistic about its US$1.6bn proposal for a high-speed train link between Chilean capital Santiago and the port city of Valparaíso, the CEO of the Chinese-Chilean firm, Álvaro González, told BNamericas.

As it emerged that the government plans to launch an international tender and that it was evaluating several proposals, González said that "the good thing for the country is to have those projects competing against each other so that the state sets the bidding conditions and the firm that makes the best offer wins."

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In regards to TVS' proposal to use Chile's railway instead of the concessions law to build the line, which sparked controversy, the CEO explained that "Chile hasn't built a new railway in 100 years; therefore people don't really know about the process of making a new railway. The law that regulates new rails is the railways law and there isn't any other."

González added that, even if a tender was launched through Chile's concessions law, the railways law would still apply.

When consulted about the information requests made by the transport ministry (MTT), the CEO said that these consisted of "25 basic questions about the train and we're now finishing the answers."

González said TVS remains optimistic, as "this is a project that has been presented several times and that has failed. I would say that nowadays the project is very well positioned in public opinion, in the region and among the authorities; this is a necessary project." He assured that TVS' proposal had been well received after presentations in several forums since January.

He added that the train could even aid the revival of Chile's railway sector. "The railways have been losing participation and assets in a systematic manner and we think that this is the right moment. We have a developing country with increasing demand, and necessities beyond highways and ports. Because of that this is an interesting project for other initiatives such as a connection to Concepción or Temuco," he said.

TVS comprises Chile's Sigdo Koppers, Latinoamérica Infraestructura and China Railways Group (CREC). González emphasized that the Chinese firm views Chile "with a lot of enthusiasm" and is highly interested in developing rail projects in the country.