Abstract:Venezuela is connected to the world primarily via air (Venezuela's airports include the Simon Bolivar International Airport near Caracas and La Chinita International Airport near Maracaibo) and sea (with major sea ports at La Guaira, Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello). In the south and east the Amazon rai...
Venezuela is connected to the world primarily via air (Venezuela's airports include the Simon Bolivar International Airport near Caracas and La Chinita International Airport near Maracaibo) and sea (with major sea ports at La Guaira, Maracaibo and Puerto Cabello). In the south and east the Amazon rainforest region has limited cross-border transport; in the west, there is a mountainous border of over 1,375 miles (2,213 km) shared with Colombia. The Orinoco River is navigable by oceangoing vessels up to 400 km inland, and connects the major industrial city of Ciudad Guayana to the Atlantic Ocean.
Venezuela has a limited national railway system, which has no active rail connections to other countries; the government of Hugo Chavez has invested substantially in expanding it. Several major cities have metro systems; the Caracas Metro has been operating since 1983. The Maracaibo Metro and Valencia Metro were opened more recently. Venezuela has a road network of around 100,000 km (placing it around 47th in the world); around a third of roads are paved.
Rather than part of the solution, central government takeovers, in Venezuela at least, may be a big part of the problem. Reports in late May that Venezuela's largest port, Puerto Cabello, was on the brink of collapse appeared to vindicate BMI's warnings that the nationalisation of the country's port sector would be to the detriment of its efficiency and the overall stability of the country's trade sector. Dockworkers cited by AmericaEconomia (AE), claimed that operations at the port had been stretched to breaking point following a lack of investment in the facility since it was transferred to the federal government.
The workers estimated that only seven of the port's 70 cargo handling machines were functional, forcing vessels to wait up to 10 days to load and unload cargo at the facility. In March 2009 Venezuela's National Assembly voted to hand over control of the country's transport links to federal authorities, which were previously under state control.
The decision saw three ports - Puerto Cabello, Maracaibo and Porlamar - placed under the control of the federal government. All three had been in the hands of states governed by leaders from parties in opposition to President Hugo Chavez's government. At the time of the takeover, we cautioned that the nationalisation of Venezuela's freight transport sector, and in particular its port network, would threaten the flow of trade to and from the South American country