Inland navigation ports

Since the existence of indigenous peoples, Latin American rivers have been utilized for moving goods and persons between locations, overcoming the difficulties of connectivity that are caused by the rugged geography of the region. However, in most Latin American countries, fluvial transport remains a minor mode of passenger and goods transport at national as well as international level (ECLAC, FAL Bulletin 343, The Evolution of Modal Split in Freight Transport in South America, 2000-2013), not taking full advantage of the potential benefits, said mode of transport could have for the inland part of the region.

Continuing its long-term support for the development of inland navigation in the region and seeking to illustrate the potential of this underutilized mode of transport, the Infrastructure Services Unit establishes a register of river ports within Latin America and the Caribbean. In this context, inland navigation ports have been defined as a place to moor and to load or unload cargo or to disembark or embark passengers to or from vessels, situated on or with access to a navigable inland waterway, i.e. a stretch of water, not part of the sea, which by natural or man-made features is suitable for navigation, primarily by inland waterway vessels. This definition includes sea ports located in the vicinity of rivers and designated for the movement of international and intercontinental goods as well as inland navigation ports that are dedicated to the inland movement of goods within or between countries. The term inland waterway includes navigable rivers, lakes, canals and estuaries.

The register presented complements the list of seaports contained in the ECLAC Maritime and Logistics Profile and should serve as a basis for collecting detailed data on the use of inland waterway transport in the countries of the region. With this, it is necessary to add that the realization of this registry has been a difficult task, because not all information is easily accessible. All the institutions involved are invited to make contributions that they deem necessary to improve this registry.