The 5.42bn-real (US$3.21bn) Transnordestina railroad project in northeastern Brazil is still only 1% complete after four years of work, according to a report by news service Agencia Estado.
The project experienced several setbacks during its first few years, including difficulties with expropriations and financing, said Tufi Daher, president of Companhia Ferroviaria do Nordeste (CFN), which is building the railway.
To date, only 20km of the 1,728km railroad is ready. However, work is currently underway on 800km of the line, most of which involves excavation work and building bridges and drainage.
The railway's first leg, between the town of Eliseu Martins in Piaui state and Suape port in Pernambuco state, will be ready in October 2012. A second section, running from the city of Salgueiro in Pernambuco state to Ceara state's Pecem port, will be ready in 2013.
The Transnordestina railroad is among the three largest private projects in Brazil. It is expected to transport some 30Mt/y of produce, including grain and minerals, when it reaches full capacity.
CFN is a subsidiary of local steelmaker CSN (NYSE: SID), which has a 75% stake in the railroad, with the federal government holding the remainder. The firm expects Transnordestina's revenues to reach 200mn reais in 2012, jumping to 1.6bn reais in 2018