From ports to power plants and highways to high-speed Internet, Uruguay plans to invest US$2.5 billion in infrastructure enhancements nationwide, a figure that could enter the US$4-5 billion range once public/private partnerships (PPPs) are factored in.
In a sweeping analysis of the country’s infrastructure priorities, El Observador’s Pedro Dutour says roads are high on the list including Route 21 connecting Mercedes, Carmelo and the new grain facility at the Port of Nueva Palmira. Route 24 connecting Fray Bentos and Paysandu will also be improved, widened and re-paved.
Like Argentina, Uruguay’s rail infrastructure needs some serious TLC with only 53% of the country’s 1,900-mile rail network currently operational. The state rail agency, AFE, is hoping US$200 million in Mercosur funds will be enough to extend Uruguayan rails to Brazil and simultaneously restore the Algorta-Paysandu-Salto line.
On the energy front, Uruguay is investing US$1.2 billion to build a 531-megawatt Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant. South Korea’s Hyundai plans to deliver the first of three turbines in June 2014. Four foreign companies have also been pre-selected to bid on the new regasification plant in Puntas de Sayago which should expedite gas delivery nationwide and lower prices.
Ports, both deep water and Internet, will be another priority for Uruguay in 2013 says Dutour. The future Deep Water Port in Rocha was green-lighted in December, while Antel’s fiber optic service already reaches 240,000 homes, a figure which catapulted Uruguay 70 spots in the world ranking of average upload speeds (7.35MB). (Full Story in Spanish)
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