Colombian Port Upgrades Freight Railway

 11 Sep 2017 11.10am

Santa Marta Port has performed a freight railway test in the run up to launching a rehabilitated railway linking the port to La Dorada in the heart of Colombia.

Tests were carried out in October, 2016 on a 767-kilometre-long route from the port to La Dorada, which passes through Magdalena, Cesar, Santander, Antioquia, Boyacá and Caldas.

Tests were performed with British rail freight services provider Holdtrade Atlantico, the Colombian Infrastructure agency ANI and Colombia’s principal coal railway Fenoco.

Now a second test will be carried out inside the port as one of the last steps before the reactivation of the transport link.

Santa Marta port loaded and unloaded the train in the port terminal, aiming to set times of operation under real operating conditions.

The tests aimed to strengthen the proposed model for transit, parking, loading and unloading.

Holdtrade Atlantico trains will be monitored via satellite to allow real-time tracking of cargo position, ensuring working dispatch schedules.

Rehabilitation of the existing railway line is underway, and rail services will recommence in May, 2018.

The port carried out a day of operational simulation within the terminal, aimed at adjusting the processes of loading, unloading, entering and leaving the port and arriving at the destination.

A train visited eight platforms, where six containers were loaded, as well as loose loads such as sacks with fertilizers, wire rods and other cargos.

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Different lines of railroad traffic arrived at the platforms to verify what will be the best operative option.

This is hoped to lead to lead to progress in establishing which area of the port most appropriate for freight development, and will work in harmony with the port’s other, 24-hour operations.

Railway development will improve synchronization between port, railway and road transport, making it possible to improve the competitiveness of the country's logistics chain.

Among the economic contributions of the railway’s operation, it will contribute to increased production, competitiveness of trade, and industrialization due to the reduction of transport costs.

This includes a reduction of between 5 and 15% in logistics costs, depending on the product and volume, between Santa Marta and the Center of the country.

It will decrease environmental emissions, as one train could move up to a maximum of 3,048 tons of cargo, which if done by land would require the use of 87 vehicles, reducing by one tenth the emissions of Co2 and reducing fuel consumption.

In terms of operational efficiencies, the interaction of the port operation and train-truck should achieve a significant decrease in transportation times, by delivering goods more directly to facilities.

Reactivation of freight transport by rail between Santa Marta and La Dorada is supported by the Port of Santa Marta, a deepwater terminal which in recent years has made important investments that exceed US$90 million in infrastructure and technology , generating port efficiencies that place it at the forefront.

Read More: In 2016, a new multi-user container terminal at the Port of Buenaventura in Colombia officially commenced operations.

  Automation and Optimisation , Port Planning, Ports, Security and Logistics