Ecuador Communications and Commerce

By | December 14, 2021

Communications. – Given the mountainous nature of much of the country, communication between the various regions is not easy. The network of inland waterways is quite extensive: the Guayas, the Daule, the Caracol, the Esmeraldas and the Río de Naranjal are crossed by regular steam navigation services; in the East, rivers are the only means of communication and transport.

The ordinary roads (among which the great Andean artery, called camino real, which goes from the Colombian to the Peruvian border, and the truckable road from the Colombian border to Babahoyo, 600 km long and inaugurated in 1930) are fairly developed, especially in the region Andean, but they are very uncomfortable and poorly maintained. The main roadways in 1930 had a development of 2220 km., The secondary ones of 3550 km. and the mule tracks of 1880 km.

The railways do not form a network, but are more or less long detached trunks. Overall they are in operation for only 1022 km (1930; 270 km. In 1910, 690 km. In 1920); moreover, there are numerous trunks under construction and those planned. The most important unparalleled line is the Guayaquil Quito (Ferrocarril del Sur), 464 km long, begun in 1872 and, due to the enormous difficulties that had to be overcome, only completed in 1908. Near Riobamba it reaches 3400 m. in height. The Guayaquil-Quito line is extending towards the north, to connect it to the Colombian Ferrocarril del Pacífico, which now reaches Popayán; the Quito-Ibarra section is currently in operation. Towards the south, in Sibambe a trunk comes off that will reach Cuenca.

Guayaquil is joined to the Santa Elena oil zone by a railway that goes to the port of Libertad, where the oil is loaded onto the tanker vapors. Other lines in operation are the Manta-Santa Ana (60 km.); the Bahía de Caráquez-Chone (77 km.), which it was planned to extend to Quito; Puerto Bolívar-Machala, which will have to reach Cuenca; and the Ambato-Curaray (in operation for a few tens of km.). For Ecuador defense and foreign policy, please check

The only really important port in Ecuador is that of Guayaquil, through which 9/10 of all import and export trade pass, and which is equipped with modern facilities (it has 2 km. And a half of docks). It is a river port, being located on the Guayas estuary, but sea steamships can also easily reach it, and is touched, in fact, by numerous British, North American, French, Italian shipping lines, etc. In 1929, 412 ships called at the port of Guayaquil, with a total gross tonnage of 983,000 net tons. Other small Ecuadorian ports are Puerto Bolívar, which exports the minerals from the Zaruma mines; Manta and Bahía de Caráquez, which especially export cocoa, coffee, hats and tagua; Libertad, which exports oil. Marittiiho traffic is almost entirely made up of foreign-flagged ships, mainly German, North American and British. The Ecuadorian Merchant Navy operates a cabotage service.

Ecuador lacks its own civil aviation. Following agreements with some foreign aeronautical companies, the national territory is crossed by two airlines. The companies concerned are: Pan American Grace Airways and Sociedad Colombo-Alemana de Transportes Aéreos. The first operates a biweekly line departing from Guayaquil, bound for New York, with stopovers in Esmeraldas, Tumaco, Buenaventura, Cristóbal, Punta Arenas. The second runs a biweekly line departing from Guayaquil to Cartagena with stopovers in Tumaco, Buenaventura, Santa Marta.

Ecuador has 6 radiotelegraphic stations (the most important are those of Quinto, Guayaquil and Esmeraldas).

Commerce. – Internal trade is far from active, as shown, among other things, by the small traffic on the Guayaquil-Quito railway line. Foreign trade is also a small thing, if one thinks of the vastness and wealth of the country: however, it is increasing rapidly from one year to the next: its value was 43.6 million sucres in 1911 (27.4 million export, 16.2 to import), of 57.4 million in 1921 (33.9-23.5) and from 1924 to 1929 it was respectively 75.2 million (38.4-36.8), 127.7 (72.555.2), 110.6 (63.6-47.0), 138.6 (81.6-57.0), 176.4 (93.5-82.9), 170, 8 (86.0-84.8). From 1924 to 1929 there was therefore an average of 133.2 million sucres, again with a prevalence of the value of exports. The main export items, as we have seen, are cocoa, oil, coffee, gold, Panamá hats and tagua, whose value in 1929 represented 79% of the total value of exports (cocoa, 21.3 million sucres ; oil, 15.1; coffee, 11.7; gold, 7.1; Panama hats, 6.8; tagua, 6.0). Exports are followed by rice (in 1929 for 4.3 million sucres), and live animals (2.6 million), fabrics (1.5 million) and fruit (1.3 million). On the other hand, cotton products are mainly imported (1929: 15, the millions of sucres), metal objects (12.4 million), food products (flours, fish, oils, cereals, etc .: 11 million), vehicles (7.6 million), machines (7.5 million), chemicals and pharmaceuticals (5.8 million), woolen (3.5 million), fuels (3.7 million), silk (2.9 million) and paper (2.6 million). In recent years the United States has absorbed an average of slightly less than half of imports and 1 / 3exports; followed by Great Britain, Germany, Italy and France. Trade with Italy is relatively active, after it sent a military and a commercial mission to Ecuador (1919-1920), and after the Italian Equator Company was established (June 1921). Italy exports cocoa, coffee and leather from Ecuador, and imports cotton and wool fabrics, weapons, wool and felt hats, wines and spirits, olive oil, etc. The average value of exports and imports in 1929 was 5.5 and 3.8 million sucres respectively (5, 1 and 2.8 in 1926).

Ecuador Commerce