Construction begins next month on coast-to-coast rail line
by Mexico News Daily
Construction of an interoceanic railway line linking the Pacific and Gulf coasts of southern Mexico will begin in January, the governor of Oaxaca has announced.
Alejandro Murat said that work on the first phase of the 310-kilometer double-track line between the ports of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, will represent the start of a free trade agreement for the southeast of Mexico.
Mexico’s largest railway operator, Ferromex, won the tendering process to operate the new line.
Both port cities as well as a corridor running between them are slated to become special economic zones (SEZs) after President Enrique Peña Nieto signed decrees for their creation earlier this year.
Other projects to complement the railway will also be completed using capital provided by the National Infrastructure Fund (Fonadin), Murat said.
They include increasing the capacity of the Salina Cruz port, building a 1-billion-peso agricultural park, modernizing the Ciudad Ixtepec airport and completing the Mitla-Tehuantepec highway.
A plan to reconfigure and modernize the Pemex oil refinery in Salina Cruz, where a huge fire broke out in June, is also being considered.
Murat first announced a 3-billion-peso investment package for the projects in March, including 700 million pesos for a direct highway between Salina Cruz and Coatzacoalcos.
The governor added that the opening of the industrial interoceanic corridor is expected to attract additional private sector investment from China, Germany and the United States.
Japanese multinational Mitsubishi has already committed US $1.2 billion for the creation of wind farms in the area.
Murat said that the project to link the two oceans would place Mexico in a position where it can compete with the Panama Canal.
In an interview with the newspaper Milenio, Murat said that the idea to create an interoceanic corridor across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec was first suggested more than 100 years ago during the presidency of Porfirio Díaz.
However, he added that the time is now right to turn it into reality because the SEZs provide the tax system and legal certainty required to make it a success.
“The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is ready to go into operation and take advantage of its great potential with a minimum of investment,” Murat said.
“The economic zones can be the trigger for this great project. There is infrastructure, connectivity, no large investments are required, it has all the attributes, the conditions are given,” he added.
Source: Milenio (sp)
Earthquake shakes Nicaraguan Pacific
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.0 degree on the Richter scale, according to preliminary data, shook the Pacific region of Nicaragua today, with no reports of casualties or material damage.
In a communication addressed to the citizens, the Vice President of the Republic, Rosario Murillo, explained that the earthquake took place at 09:00 local time, at a depth of 7 km.
Murillo stated the quake was located 82 km from San Juan del Sur, between the border of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, and was perceived in the departments of Rivas, Carazo and Managua.
The leader called on all people who are in buildings, in shopping centers and in crowded places as markets to take all necessary precautions.
‘We also call on the colleagues at the Ministry of the Interior to maximize alerts for short circuits, fires, especially in the areas near the epicenter,’ she said.