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Cargo Rail Binational Forum Held in Tecate

June 15, 2017

By Ana Gomez Salcido

The region’s railway opportunities, benefits, impacts and challenges were discussed as part of the Cali Baja Cargo Rail Binational Forum held at the Autonomous University of Baja California’s Tecate Campus on Friday, June 9.

The forum had three different panels which featured participants from academic, business and industrial sectors.

The Autonomous University of Baja California, the United States Consulate in Tijuana and the Mexican Consulate in San Diego coordinated the event.

Consul General of the United States Consulate in Tijuana William A. Ostick and Consul General of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego Marcela Celorio participated at the end of the event with general conclusions.

“This forum is very important because it sets a knowledge background about the history of the railroad in the region. The railways have more than a hundred years of history in the region. And there were also discussions about the current project to have a train crossing the border,” Ostick said to La Prensa San Diego. “This forum was also very important to the United States because there are a lot of jobs in California that depend on the business relationship with Mexico, specifically with Baja California. Finding ways of faster and more efficient logistics will help both countries.”

The event held in Tecate, Baja California was the first of its type.

“This forum is a reflection of the dynamism of the Cali-Baja region. The public is urging the government to react and act on these needs,” Celorio said. “Fortunately, we have found a lot of empathy from the United States Consulate in Tijuana because we agree that we are interdependent, that we need each other, and that we have to move forward together for the benefit of our societies.”

Currently, Baja California Railroad INC (BJRR) has the objective to connect Baja California with California through a railway known as the Desert Line.

BJRR leased the Desert Line from the Metropolitan Transport System (MTS) since last year, but in order to operate, the railways need to be restored.

The rehabilitation project is expected to be finished in two years and two months, and it needs MTS approval to start.

Jorge Alberto Izquierdo Estrada, commercial manager of BJRR, said that there is still no start date scheduled for the rehabilitation project.

A border crossing facility for the train coming from Mexico to the United States through Tecate, is also needed for the BJRR project.

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