Colombia Transportation

By | December 15, 2021

The main communication routes are nowadays constituted by navigable rivers, which indeed form a magnificent network, calculated at over 5000 km., Of which 4200 already have regular steam navigation services. The main artery is the Magdalena, navigable for 1400 km. from the mouth (Bocas de Ceniza) to Neiva, crossed by vapors that fish up to m. 1.50 and also have 500 tons. of tonnage, up to Caracolí; and from vapors that fish up to 1.10 m upstream of Caracolí. From the tributaries of the Magdalena the Cauca can be navigated, from the confluence to Valdivia and from La Virginia to Balsa, for a total of over 600 km; S. Jorge, for 85 km., from the confluence with the Cauca in Ayapel; the César, for 35 km.; the Sogamoso, also for 35 km.; the Nechí, for 32, etc. Of the other rivers of western Colombia, the Atrato is navigable for 500 km., up to Quibdó; the Sinú, for 70 km., up to Montería; the S. Juan, for 230 km., up to Negría; the Patía, for 122 km. Of the rivers that line the eastern region, the Meta is navigable for almost 700 km. Finally, we should mention the Canal del Dique, between Magdalena and Cartagena, 90 km long.

The river flotilla is made up of steamers and barges, which total over 38,000 tons. and belong to numerous shipping companies and industrial companies. The Magdalena ship alone measures 34,000 tons. For Colombia 2016, please check

Before the construction of the railways, goods arrived at river or sea ports, from mountainous regions, mostly by donkey. Now, most of the production regions are connected with the sea or with navigable rivers by means of railway trunks, often very daring. The main characteristic of Colombian railways is that they currently constitute not a network, but a set of detached trunks, built, moreover, in such a way that they can be gradually linked together. Despite the very serious difficulties encountered, given the relief of the country and the unhealthy climate of some low-lying areas, the construction of railways developed relatively rapidly: in 1885 only 236 km were in operation, which rose to 513 in 1898, to 875. in 1910, at 1318 in 1920, at 2539 km. in 1929. Some lines belong to the state, others to departments, still others to national and foreign private companies. The most important lines, among those already in operation, are: the Medellín-Puerto Berrío (190 km.), The Puerto Caldas-CartagoManizales (109 km.), The Cartagena-Calamar (105 km.), The Girardot-Facatativá- Bogotá (172 km.), The Ambalema-La Dorada (111 km.), The Santa Marta-Fundación and branches (200 km.), The Puerto Wilches-Bucaramanga (95 km.), The Bogotá-Chiquinquirá (178 km.), and finally the Buenaventura-Cali-Cartago (347 km.), to which the Cali-Popayán (159 km.) joins, forming together the so-called Fenocarril del Pacífico, whose opening to traffic (1914) was one of the most important events in recent Colombian economic life. The country, in fact, which once gravitated almost exclusively towards the Atlantic, is now also turning to the Pacific, as demonstrated, among other things, by the development of the port of Buenaventura, through which 12% of trade with the ‘abroad. The opening of the Panama Canal and then that of the Pacific Railway are the essential causes of this change. There are several railways under construction, covering a total of about 2300 km. It should be remembered that good car services currently operate between the terminus of various sections not yet connected to each other.

Two large cableways operate both for the transport of goods and passengers, the Gamarra (on the Magdalena) -Ocaña (47 km.), Which is extending up to Cúcuta (total, 172 km.), And the Mariquita (535 msm, on the La Dorada-Ambalema) -Manizales railway (2153 msm), 71 km long. Other cableways are under construction or planned.

Air transport, which Colombia was the first to introduce among the Latin American states, is becoming increasingly important. An airline, in fact, was established in 1919 by a French company between Cartagena and Barranquilla, which however was in service for a short time. Also in 1919, the well-known “Scadta” (Sociedad colomboalemana de transportes aereos) was established, which immediately began a service with Junkers and Dornier hydroplanes between Barranquilla and Girardot, the river port of Bogotá (1000 km., About 8 hours flight); subsequently, to this line, which is daily, the other following lines were grafted, some weekly, others biweekly: Barranca Bermeja-Puerto Wilches-Bucaramanga (140 km.; managed by Compañia Santandereana de Aviación, “Cosada”), Barranquilla-Sautatá-Quibdó-Buenaventura-Tumaco-Guayaquil (1900 km.), Santa Marta-Barranquilla-Sautatá-Cristóbal (800 km.), Bogotá-Girardot-Ibagué (140 km.): Which lead to a total of almost 4000 km. of air navigation lines. It should be added, then, that Colombia is touched by two major North American lines, namely the one that from Miami to Havana and various Central American cities goes to Maracaibo and La Guaira, touching Cartagena and Barranquilla, and the one that from Cristóbal (Panama), for Buenaventura and Tumaco and various cities of Ecuador, Peru and Chile, it goes as far as Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In 1929 the “Scadta” alone carried 5,500 passengers and over 50,000 kg. of post, covering 1,250,000 km. of flights. If you think that with river steamers’

Seaports are few and poorly equipped. On the Atlantic, Puerto Colombia is the best, and almost 50% of the Republic’s foreign trade passes through it: followed by the ports of Cartagena, through which 23% of traffic passes, and Santa Marta (4%: export of bananas). On the Pacific, the most active port is Buenaventura (1z%), followed by that of Tumaco (3%). The telegraph network is about 35,000 km. (1929) and there are 9 radiotelegraphic stations.

Colombia Transportation