Russian railway company RZD is eyeing construction and operation of Brazil's main railway, known as the Norte-Sul (pictured), which will eventually run some 4,156km from the northern state of Pará to the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
RZD representatives have requested technical information about the project from national transport authority ANTT and a Russian delegation is expected to visit Brazil by December to discuss the multi-phase initiative in more detail, local daily Estadão reported.
RZD and Brazilian engineering company Progen signed a deal last year to jointly participate in Brazil's upcoming railroad concessions. "A memorandum of understanding is still in progress with the Russians," said ANTT director Jorge Bastos, according to the report.
Following a call for expressions of interest last year, a tender to operate an 855km stretch of the railway already built by federal rail company Valec is now being planned. Also known as EF-151, it runs from Goiás state's Anápolis city to Tocantins state capital Palmas.
According to the federal government, the company hired to operate the Goiás-Tocantins stretch will need to build another 477km segment of the railway between Maranhão state's Açailândia and Pará state capital Belem. Its construction is estimated at 7.8bn reais (US$2.01bn).
RZD representatives and Brazilian officials are looking at using funds from the recently created development bank Novo Banco de Desenvolvimento (NBD). The financial institution, which is based in Shanghai, is a joint effort between BRICS countries.
Meanwhile, China has been showing interest in the Centro-Oeste (Fico) railway and the Brazil-Peru Bioceanic line.
Brazil's overall strategy to improve its rail network includes the logistics improvement plan known as PIL, under which some 99.6bn reais has been earmarked to build and improve approximately 11,000km of railways.