BRASILIA, BRAZIL — The government of Brazil plans to privatize southern airports in the second quarter of 2019 and will have the Ferrograo and FIOL railway projects serving the central grain belt ready for bidding later this year or early in 2020, according to Reuters.

Adalberto Santos de Vasconcelos, secretary for the Investment Partnerships Program, also told Reuters that Miner Vale S.A. and logistics company Rumo S.A. are expected to sign early renewal of rail concessions this year.

Vasconcelos said 20 airports will be auctioned on March 15, part of an initiative in Brazil to improve air travel for tourism, farming and the oil industry.

In addition to the airport auctions, he said the Brazilian government plans to reduce the country’s reliance on road transport for moving cargo such as grains by building more railways and getting current operators to invest in expansions.

He told Reuters that Brazil hopes to double the share of cargo moved by rail to 31% by 2025, up from 15% currently.

Vasconcelos said the Ferrograo grain railway will take about 10 years to build. It will run from Sinop in Mato Grosso state to Miritituba on the Tapajos river. Barges will then carry grains from Miritituba via the Amazon river out to world markets.

Meanwhile, the FICO and FIOL railways will connect the farm belt to the North-South line and Atlantic ports, with the capacity to move out an expected 8 million tonnes of grain a year, Vasconcelos said.