The Freight Train that Costa Rica So Badly Needs

With $40 million from the state insurer, the Costa Rican Railway Institute could bring back into issue the railway line from Río Frío de Sarapiquí to the port of Limón.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Although the efficiency in the planning and execution of projects is not something that Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles is famous for, the initiative to restore the railroad and reimplement the container transport service from the port of Limón to Río Frio could, if it finally materializes, help improve the damaged reputation of the state run railway company.

The Incofer is preparing a business plan to present to the National Insurance Institute (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) and take out a loan of $40 million, which would be used for the purchase of five new locomotives and for the rehabilitation of the 120 container transport platforms.

Nacion.com reports that "...In recent years this service has been reactivated with very old machinery and very battered railroad tracks.  However, the operation is "very modest," according to Elizabeth Briceño, executive president of Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer). For 2017, the Incofer estimated revenues of ¢790 million from cargo transportation. For 2018 they are calculated at ¢816 million and the goal is to continue growing."

"... In the first quarter of 2017, the Incofer cargo transport service  moved 654,361 boxes of bananas, 23,800 tons of steel and 62 containers of paper and cardboard boxes. The projection for 2018 is to move 4.9 million boxes of bananas and 110,000 tons of steel to generate ¢816 million annually."

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More on this topic

Costa Rica to Buy Trains for $30 million

April 2016

Although the funds are not yet available, nor is there legislative authority to borrow, the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles has announced that it intends to acquire 8 trains.

An article on Crhoy reports that "...Guillermo Santana, CEO of Incofer, said the new units will have to comply with national railway infrastructure conditions, for which reason the rolling stock must be modified by the manufacturer and will take longer to arrive. "

Guatemala-Mexico Freight Train Reactivated

October 2015

It has been announced that as of December 15th the Tecún Uman San Marcos line will connect with the mexican Compañía de Ferrocarriles Chiapas-Mayab in order to transport cargo from Guatemala.

The Mexican train known as "The Beast", will enter onto Guatemalan soil through Tecún Uman, where it will receive cargo to be transported from Central America to Mexico and the United States.

Costa Rica Seeks Train Providers

May 2014

The government is looking for new options to the Spanish railway companies with whom the country has worked in the past years.

The new director of the Instituto Costarricense de Ferrocarriles (Incofer) has stated that its management will aim to find the best options for developing a system using metropolitan electric trains working in coordination with buses and taxis.

Railroad Movement in Panama Down 40%

April 2013

Problems in the computer systems at Balboa port have slowed container cargo on the railroad.

Currently three thousand containers a week are being transported when normally in the same period of the year nearly eight to nine thousand containers a week are mobilized.

Tomás Kenna, president of the Panama Canal Railway, explained that "the problem we are experiencing is with the receipt and delivery of containers at the ports." According to the official, what is happening with the movement of cargo has to do with the implementation of a new computer system at the Port of Balboa, which apparently is having problems attending to boats and trains.

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