BUENOS AIRES, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Argentina on Thursday received 18 Chinese-built locomotives to modernize its dilapidated cargo rail network that traverses northern part of the country, the Transport Ministry said.
The shipment "doubles the current fleet of locomotives, which has not been renovated since 1978, incorporating the latest high-tech equipment," the ministry said.
The locomotives, which arrived at the Port of Buenos Aires and will be added to another two that arrived in February, will help upgrade the Belgrano Cargas cargo rail network, the backbone of Argentina's agro-products transportation system.
The new engines, built by the China Machinery Engineering Corporation, represent "a historic technological leap for the country's cargo transport and the Belgrano railway," the ministry said.
"The new Chinese machinery will help reduce the time it takes to transport goods from the north to the central part of the country, increase the amount of cargo transported, and generate jobs and the development of regional economies," said the ministry.
This latest shipment is part of a larger government plan to reactivate the country's cargo rail network, with a total of 107 new locomotives and 3,500 railcars, in addition to the renovation of the rails and railway infrastructure in general.
The first phase of the Belgrano Cargas renovation entails the renewal of some 1,600 km of rails stretching through six northern provinces and connecting them directly with Argentine major export hub Gran Rosario.
The renovation project is expected to be completed in 2019, increasing cargo capacity five times from the 2015 level of 847,282, according to the ministry.