Communications. – In proportion to its surface, Uruguay is the South American country best equipped with railways (the first line, Montevideo-Santa Lucia, was inaugurated in 1869). The development of the railway network (1600 km. In 1890, 1944 in 1905, 2786 in 1934) was facilitated by the topographical configuration of the terrain. Almost all of the lines are standard gauge, since only 80 km. they are narrow gauge. The network belongs to 290 km. to the state, and for the rest to private companies (British capital). The main lines radiate from Montevideo: Montevideo-Lavalleja (125 km.), From which the Olmos-Maldonado-Punta del Este (121 km.) Branches off which then has the San Carlos-Rocha-Puerto de la Paloma branch (99 km.); Montevideo-Melo (421 km.), With the Nico Pérez-Treinta y Tres-Artigas branch (Brazilian border: 227 km.); Montevideo-Río Negro-Rivera (Brazilian border: 567 km; since 1912 in connection with the Brazilian network) with the Río Negro-Paysandú-Salto-Quarahim branches (Brazilian border: 495 km; Tres Árboles-Piedra branch off Sola, 58 km., And the Algorta-Fray Bentos, 141 km.), And 25 de Agosto-Mercedes (237 km; the Mal Abrigo-Cologne line, 114 km.). Construction of another 2,700 km is planned. approximately of railway lines.
The rapid spread of vehicles made it necessary to gradually transform the existing ordinary roads and to build new ones with modern criteria. The development of the road network reaches 14,000 km. approximately, of which about 500 of carreteras (roads with artificial ground), and the rest of caminos (natural ground). After Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is the richest South American country in vehicles (almost 43,000 in 1935).
River navigation is very active; the Río de la Plata and Uruguay can be traveled by large tonnage ships throughout the year: up to Fray Bentos also by large ocean liners, provided they are at reduced speed and with the guidance of practical pilots; up to Paysandú, from ships with no more than 5 m. of draft, and up to Jump from ships that do not fish more than 3 m. The Río Negro with the help of special tugs is navigable for almost 300 km. from boats that do not weigh more than 1.50 m.
Due to their conformation, the Uruguayan coasts rarely have good and safe landings: Montevideo is the only important port of the republic, indeed one of the busiest in all of South America.
Another 18 natural or artificial ports are located on the Atlantic coast, on the Platense estuary and on the Uruguay and Negro rivers: Maldonado, la Paloma, Piriapolis, Sauce, Colonia, Conchillas, Nueva Palmira, Fray Bentos, Paysandú, Salto, Soriano, Mercedes, etc. The Uruguayan merchant navy is of little importance (the Lloyd’s Register does not mention it) and is used almost exclusively for cabotage trades: in all it includes about sixty small ships for just over 10,000 tons.
Two North American air navigation lines connect Uruguay with various other American countries: one, operated by Pan – American Grace Airways Inc., Runs the Miami-Kingston-Buenaventura-Guayaquil Lima-Antofagasta-Santiago del Chile-Mendoza-Buenos Aires route -Montevideo; and another, operated by Pan – American Airways Inc., the Miami-Port au Prince-Pará-Natal-Rio de Janeiro-Santos-Rio Grande-Montevideo route.
The civil aviation center (affiliated with the International Aviation Federation) is based in the Melilla airport 11 kilometers from Cerro de Montevideo. An airline agreement between the government of Uruguay and the Argentine government regulates air traffic between the two nations. The Air – France company has an agreement with the Uruguayan postal authorities for the transport of air mail between Uruguay and Europe.
Trade. – Uruguayan trade is mainly based, as already mentioned, on the export of products deriving from livestock and agricultural products, and on the import of textiles, mineral oils, iron, machines and other manufactured goods. The trade balance is generally favorable to Uruguay. Official statistics show a notable and gradual increase on the whole of Uruguayan trade from 1900 up to the years of the world crisis; in 1928, 1929 and also in 1930 it had reached a significant volume; it then declined rapidly, while always remaining remarkable. It was only in 1921 and 1931 that the trade balance was particularly unfavorable to Uruguay; in 1913, 1924 and 1926 there were instead positive balances of about 20 million dollars.
The category of livestock breeding products mainly includes frozen and chilled meats and extracts, which make up on average about 31% of the total value of exports; followed by wool, with about 25%, skins, with 13%, and live animals, with 40%. The main purchasing market for these products is Great Britain, which absorbs 90% of the world exportable production of meat; Uruguay competes with 10%. For Uruguay 2009, please check hyperrestaurant.com.
Of the agricultural products, flaxseed, wheat and wheat flour are the most exported. Mining products are of little importance.
Great Britain alone absorbs from 1/4 to 1/5 of the total value of exports; followed by Germany with 1/6, Italy, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France and the United States.
The import trade is mainly aimed at some foodstuffs (on average 18% of the total value), now in significant contraction, and textile (15%) and mechanical products (12%), the former decreasing, the latter, on the other hand, in significant increase, as well as mineral oils (14%). This is followed by crystals and ceramics (9%) and timber and woodwork (8%).
Great Britain is currently the most important supplier to Uruguay, with approximately 16% of the total value, followed by the United States (15%); it should also be noted that until a few years ago the participation of the United States was much stronger (about 30%), much higher than that of Great Britain. Germany also declined over the past years (about 9% compared to 11%), while Argentina and Italy remained almost stationary (9% and 50% respectively). On the other hand, Brazil is on the rise (about 8%) and France is significantly decreasing (just 2%).
Italy exports textile products, machinery and their parts, appliances, iron and steel sheets, ropes and strings, tires and inner tubes, sulfur, olive oil and rice to Uruguay, the latter for good part of the needs of the republic; in exchange it imports frozen meats, hides and wool.
The external commercial movement takes place for 76% through the port of Montevideo and 13% through that of Fray Bentos.