CCR Metrô Bahia: 21st century infrastructure in Brazil’s most historic city

International sporting events can have highly positive long-term effects on the cities which host them. A prime example can be seen in Salvador, Bahia on the northeast coast of Brazil. The former colonial town was one of the host cities for the 2014 world cup when it visited Brazil. Thankfully, that tournament has had - and will continue to have - a positive long-term impact on the city’s infrastructure.


One such example of this is the city’s Estádio Fonte Nova, home to one of the club’s two football rivals. It replaced a decrepit regional stadium that came before it and gave the surrounding area a new impetus. But better still has been the impact on the city’s transport infrastructure, as seen in CCR Metrô Bahia, its rail network. We recently spoke with Luis Valencia, its President, about the difference it has made to the city.


Putting Salvador on the right track

Despite coming to prominence in the years immediately before the 2014 World Cup. As Luis Valencia explains, the company CCR was created almost 20 years ago in 1998 and issues its first shares shortly afterwards in 2002. Since then, it has expanded into transport activities all over Brazil and even moving into some airport services in the United States. In Bahia, it is no exaggeration to say that it has transformed the city, even including 10 bus terminals in Salvador.


Mr. Valencia says: “In Bahia, the activities began in 2013, with the challenge to conclude the construction of Line 1 of Salvador subway system and start the construction of Line 2. CCR Metrô Bahia built new subway stations and the center of operations and maintenance, and was responsible for the construction and administration of 10 bus terminals. The concession also controls the operations and maintenance of the subway system, having acquired the trains and systems such as signaling, telecommunications and Operation Control Center (OCC).”


CCR Metrô Bahia is the concessionary responsible for the construction and operation of the subway systems in Salvador and neighboring Lauro de Freitas. The scale of the investment gives some indication of the project’s reach. Mr. Valencia says: “Total investments were R$5.6 billion (approximately US$2 billion), but this will continue to increase, and the project has involved the CCR Group, the State of Bahia and the Federal Government. This 30-year concession (2013-2043) will promote investments in the construction of subway stations, acquisition of equipment and systems, adaptation and renovation of trains, maintenance and operation of Passenger Integration Terminals (urban and metropolitan buses) and subway stations.”


When finished, the subway system will have 42 kilometres of track, 23 stations and 10 bus terminals, all managed by CCR Metrô Bahia. Currently, 19 stations and most of the 2 lines are accessible to the public, and the total project is expected to be delivered by the end of 2017. The project is also ISO 9001 certified, reinforcing the company’s commitment to all of its stakeholders.


More than a transport network

As Mr. Valencia tells us: “one of the benefits of the subway system implementation by CCR is employment generation. This project has already employed about 8,000 direct, indirect and outsourced people, and 96% of this workforce is from Bahia. Around 220,000 people take the subway every day and we expect to have more than 700,000 people a day in the subway system after the airport starts opening.” Or in other words, more than 10% of the city’s population - creating, Mr. Valencia says, more than 5,000 indirect jobs.


Mr. Valencia therefore explains that the work of the Salvador and Lauro de Freitas subway system has become a driver for the development of Bahia, contributing to job generation and attracting for economic development actions. The urban space has also received real estate investments, with increased commercial and social use of the surrounding areas and the installation of health, education, culture and entertainment equipment, as well as real estate appreciation.


He says: “The CCR Group is committed to strengthening the domestic economy by prioritizing the material suppliers located in the region where it operates. In Bahia, the MAP Group currently holds seven agreements for the provision of cleaning and surveillance services to the Salvador and Lauro de Freitas subway system, representing 450 direct employees working in the stations and terminals, and an amount of approximately R$ 18 million.”


A sustainable solution for Salvador

If its economic impact on the city wasn’t enough, CCR Metrô Bahia also takes its role as a corporate citizen very seriously. It has already made significant contributions to organizations, both charitable and environmental, throughout the great Salvador region. These include juvenile orchestras, which bring music to the poorest children of the city, an ongoing volunteer program for its own workforce, and even the city’s first funded study into its remarkable history.


Regarding the metro itself, Mr. Valencia says: “the subways system adopts sustainability principles because it uses non-polluting, clean and renewable electricity, free of CO2 emissions, which means less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reduced street noise, less pollution and more quality of life.”  As Brazil’s third largest city, it is important to note that because of CCR Metrô Bahia’s efforts, it leads in terms of the sustainability of its transport infrastructure.


Furthermore, he adds: “Along Line 2, CCR Metro Bahia is building a 12 km cycle path, integrated into the new landscape of Avenida Paralela. Other initiatives, such as the construction of rainwater retention tanks for use in toilets and LED lighting, were also incorporated in the system. The landscape project of Line 2 foresees a green corridor with three times more trees than the original project, contributing to environmental sustainability. Under this project, more than 6,000 trees and palm trees will be planted.”


Partners and providers

Not surprisingly, companies are more than happy to have their names associate with the regeneration of Salvador being led by CCR Metrô Bahia. These include international giants like Hyundai-Rotem, responsible for providing the network of 40 trains and Siemens, responsible for much of the technology used on the line, such as signalling systems, electronics and data.


Other companies include Swiss-Swedish conglomerate ABB, which caters to the network’s complex electrical system and Thales Canada. Local and Brazilian firms are also represented; much of the construction was carried out by Ferreira Guedes S.A. and BP Construções Metálicas ltda. Legal representation on the project was provided by Brandão and Tourinho Dantas Advogados, one of Salvador’s oldest legal firms.


Ordem e Progresso

The Brazilian national flag carries the motto, ‘ordem e progresso,’ meaning ‘order and progress.” It seems to be embodied in what CCR Metrô Bahia is doing in the country’s first capital. Exactly 20 years after the company itself was first founded, it will celebrate the completion of both Salvador metro lines, simultaneously giving Salvador a transport network that any 21st century city would be proud of. Order and progress indeed.