Foreign Minister Javier González-Olachea confirmed Jan. 21 that Chinese President Xi Jinping will, as hoped, personally attend the inauguration of the opening of the new deepwater mega-port on the Pacific coast of Peru. It is being jointly built by China’s Cosco Shipping, and Peru’s Volcan Mining Corp. Xi will participate in the ceremony while he is in Peru for this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit.
This Belt and Road Initiative project will provide “crucial experiment” transformation for South America’s economy when operational. Peru’s Trade Minister Juan Mathews Salazar explained to Reuters Jan. 18 that “the Chancay megaport aims to turn Peru into a strategic commercial and port hub between South America and Asia.” In announcing Xi’s plans, Foreign Minister González-Olachea emphasized that the Chancay-to-Shanghai route that will result, is expected to reduce the transit time for maritime cargo between South America and Asia—"the most important region in the world for investments and commerce"—by 10 days.
Businessmen from Brazil’s southwestern states have been visiting Chancay, keen to ship their agricultural products through Chancay, instead of shipping them to the Atlantic, and then around the north of South America to cross into the Pacific via the Panama Canal. The two governments have been discussing what is needed to construct and/or modernize cross-continental highways in and out of Chancay, but to handle the enormous economic development which will result from these exchanges will require building one, two, three, many transcontinental railroads that will open up the interior of South America.
President Xi’s trip could be huge. After his Peru visit next November, he will be going on to Brazil, both for the G20 summit and for a bilateral state visit, where construction of the transcontinental railroad (referred to as the “bioceanic” railroad in the region) agreed on between China, Brazil, and Peru in 2014, could well be back on the agenda.