Challenges to railroad freight transport in Colombia

Author: Champin, Jorge; Cortés, René; Kohon, Jorge; Rodríguez, Manuel
Institutional Author: Inter-American Development Bank


In Colombia, the railway network reached over 3,300 kilometers in the middle of last century. Mainly due to the development of roads and weak corporate governance, the railway lines were slowly abandoned, and only about half of the original network is currently in service or with the potential of being put in service. In 2013 road transport mobilized 220.3 million tonnes (73% of total cargo movements), while the railroad shipped just over 76.8 million tonnes (25% of total displacement). This document aims to identify the challenges of rail freight activity in Colombia and the set of actions and public policies that are necessary to achieve growth, thus diversifying the country's transportation matrix.