MINISTER OF TRANSPORTATION
Argentina 2018 I Infrastructure & Transport I Leader
BIOGRAPHY National Minister of Transportation since December 2015, he was previously in charge of the same position in the City of Buenos Aires (2009-2015). He is responsible for executing the most ambitious National Plan of Transportation, which aims at promoting economic and social development in Argentina. He has a degree in Economy AND postgraduate studies in Business by Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA).
“AS PART OF THE NATIONAL PLAN OF TRANSPORTATION, WITHIN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS WE WILL BUILD THE EQUIVALENT TO THE NUMBER OF HIGHWAYS BUILT IN THE LAST 65 YEARS.”
ARGENTINA HAS RECEIVED OVER $8 BILLION IN BIDS FOR ITS ROAD PROJECTS. WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE COUNTRY’S ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE?
When we assumed the Government, only 2,800 km of the 40,200 km of routes that form the National Road Network were highways. As part of the National Plan of Transportation, within the next four years we will build the equivalent to the number of highways built in the last 65 years. By 2019, we will reach 5,600 km of highways throughout the country. We will also build almost 4,000 km of Safe Routes, a concept that did not exist in Argentina, made of wide lanes and avoiding populated areas, in order to reduce the possibility of serious accidents. Currently, we have 1,200 km of highways, almost 1,200 km of paved roads and more than 11,200 km of rehabilitation projects in execution throughout the country.
In our Government, all bids were made public and accessible to everyone online, a breakthrough in terms of transparency to ensure that there is true competition when it comes to complying for public works. Through public-private partnerships (PPPs) we already bid and contracted the concession of more than 3,000 km of national routes this year. This will imply an investment of more than $6 billion in the first stage of the Highways and Safe Routes Network initiative launched by the National Government. The plan is divided into three stages of bidding, with a total investment of more than $12.5 billion for the first five years and over $4.2 billion during the following 10 years.
Throughout the three stages will be intervened around 7,277 km of national routes. In the tender of the first phase, we received 32 offers from both national and international companies, which confirms not only that investors have confidence in Argentina for the long-term but also that we managed to generate a very solid public-private participation system that will allow us to make the investments in infrastructure that will help the country’s growth and create jobs.
WHAT ARE YOUR MAIN OBJECTIVES FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY?
With the aim of strengthening the aviation sector and increase the number of passengers, we established the “Aircraft Revolution” initiative aimed at transforming the sector and double the number of Argentinians flying within the next four years. This initiative is based on three pillars: reinforce the leadership of Aerolíneas Argentinas; add new airlines to provide better connection alternatives; and invest in building new infrastructure (increase the capacity of airports, modernize facilities, equipment and air navigation technology) with a public investment of 25,000 million pesos until 2019.
There are a total of 12 airports with works completed during the administration and there are currently 15 airports under construction In total, 2,600 million pesos will be invested between radars and surveillance equipment, guidance technology, communication equipment and other improvements to improve communication resources to pilots, reduce delays and cancellations and ensure security and predictability. These efforts are already proven fruitful as shown by the 78% reduction in delays at the Buenos Aires Terminal due to the redesign of the airspace and the implementation of PBN approaches.
WHAT ARE YOU PLANS TO REVIVE THE COUNTRY’S CARGO RAILWAY SYSTEM?
We are leading the most critical transformation that has ever been done in Argentina’s railway system. We are recovering 1,800 km of Belgrano Cargas railroad tracks to triple the amount of cargo transported, connecting the regional economies of the northwest of the country with the ports of the Gran Rosario and reducing the logistics costs of the entire production chain. We also incorporated 3,500 new wagons and 107 locomotives to boost this growth. In addition to the Belgrano Cargas, we are moving forward with the project to renovate San Martín, which links the provinces of Cuyo, in the west of the country, with Buenos Aires, and the Norpatagónico Train, which reaches the Vaca Muerta oil field in Añelo, Neuquén. We are not only investing in infrastructure but also improving the management of state-owned cargo lines that. Last year, the Belgrano Cargas railroad dispatched nearly 1.3 million tonnes and had its best year since 2000, growing by 23% compared to 2016. For this year, it is expected to grow 59% more than in 2017 and transport over two million tons.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FINAL MESSAGE TO FOREIGN INVESTORS INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN ARGENTINA?
In December 2015, Argentina started a change of course. We are doing major infrastructure works that were not done in the last 30 years, to diversify the logistics matrix, to improve the connectivity of the regions and the Argentines, with a focus on safety and efficiency. We believe in an intermodal transport that combines trucks with trains, airplanes, and barges. Our commitment is to provide the population with quality public transportation while at the same time fighting against the cartelization in public works and unfinished projects.
We have a President who is committed against corruption and poverty and our National Infrastructure Plan will help achieve these objectives to transform Argentina, a country that is productive and competitive. Local and international companies have returned to participate in PPPs in the public works sector as they have seen that the changes we implement are real and that we fulfill what we promise. It is the only way our country can once again regain trust after the years lost with corruption.