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Latin America is 'hidden gem' of tunnelling work

Latin American countries such as Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are set to be the next hot spot for tunnelling workload, according to Halcrow global tunnelling director Martin Knights.

Presenting delegates at NCE’s Tunnelling 20Twenty conference in Hong Kong this week with an overview of global workload trends, Knights predicted that Brazil, Mexico and Argentina would increasingly drive the global market.

“If I was to pick one area that is going to be hot it would be Latin America,” he said. “South America is the global hidden gem.” Knights pointed to projects such as Argentina’s water supply and stormwater programme across the capital of Buenos Aires, Brazil’s new high speed rail programme ahead of the 2016 Olympics and the new Rio Metro Line 4 project as examples.

Knights also highlighted the Middle East as a key region for growth in tunnelling work over the next decade, pointing to examples including key metro and water projects in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), rail projects in Qatar ahead of the 2022 football World Cup, and metro projects in Kuwait City.

Mexican opportunities

The conference also heard from Mexico’s National Water Commission director Rafael Paredes who explained Mexico City’s ongoing Eastern Outfall Tunnel flood control project, which is designed to cope with the growth in demand following a doubling of the capital’s population to 20M since 1975.

Peredes confirmed that across Mexico the government had new water and transport infrastructure projects in planning and construction, potentially providing a huge pipeline of work for the global tunnelling industry.

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