May 22, 2018 / 4:24 AM / in 5 months

Grupo Mexico eyes Wednesday re-opening of blocked train route after derailment

MEXICO CITY, May 21 (Reuters) - Mexican miner and infrastructure firm Grupo Mexico said on Monday it aims to resume rail transport between key commercial port of Veracruz and central Mexico on Wednesday, following a train derailment suspected to be an act of criminal sabotage.

The route that transports 80,000 tons daily has been closed since early Saturday, when in Veracruz 39 cars loaded with wheat and four locomotives hurtled down a slope and collided, injuring three people, the company said.

Grupo Mexico’s rail division, Grupo Mexico Transportes , said saboteurs appeared to have dislodged the train’s safety controls.

The state of Veracruz on Mexico’s Gulf coast has suffered a wave of violence in recent years as drug cartels seeking to diversify their income streams branch into fuel theft and assaults on trains and trucks.

Trains throughout Mexico were hit by more than 1,750 robberies and nearly 10,870 acts of vandalism last year, according to government data.

Grupo Mexico Transportes has said that these crimes have especially plagued its route between Veracruz and the central state of Puebla, which connects to the populous capital and the United States border.

“Our clients are very worried because they have shortages,” said Lourdes Aranda, vice president of government relations and communications for Grupo Mexico Transportes.

“We will likely reopen on Wednesday, if everything goes well,” she said. The company has not yet determined the cost of the losses.

Aranda said that Grupo Mexico has suffered six “acts of sabotage” near the Gulf coast in recent weeks, causing almost 300,000 tons of merchandise to be stuck at Veracruz’s port. (Reporting by Noe Torres Writing by Daina Beth Solomon Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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