The Railways Institute of the Venezuelan Republic (IFE) has awarded a €763m contract to an Italian consortium comprising Impregilo, Astaldi and Ghella to complete the rail line from Puerto Cabello to La Encrucijada.

The contract involves the construction of an extra rail line from the city of Moron to the Puerto Cabello port in Carabobo state.

The rail extension will also provide Valencia city with a trading link on the coast.

The additional contract increases the total value of the project to approximately €3.3bn.

IFE earlier signed two contracts with the Italian group in 2006 to build the 252km railway line between San Juan de los Morros and San Fernando de Apure, and the 201km railroad between Chaguaramas and Cabruta, which is currently underway.