ROADS AND RAILWAYS

Uruguay’s strong commercial relationship with Brazil and Argentina, the concentration of the bulk of the population in its capital, Montevideo, and a low-use railway network, make intra-zone trade flow primarily through the road system. Thus, there is a network of roads linking Montevideo with the main cities in the region. Three bridges over the Uruguay River connect the country with Argentina at the cities of Salto, Paysandú and Fray Bentos, while access to Brazil is through land borders in the cities of Bella Unión, Artigas, Rivera, Aceguá, Río Branco and Chuy (see Image 5).

Image 1- Connectivity of main roads in Uruguay with Brazil and Argentina

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Uruguay has the highest degree of road connectivity – internal and external – and the most dense road network in all Latin American countries. It has about 8,776 km[1], 7,977 km of which are paved[2], which results in a ratio of 45 km of paved roads per 1,000 sq km. As a result, Uruguay is the third country in South America in terms of road quality (The Global Competitiveness Report 2016, World Economic Forum).

In 2013 goods transported in roads (including inbound and outbound goods) exceeded 25 million tons.

Uruguay’s rail network has an extension of 3,073 km, 1,673 km which have been operational since the end of the 20th century, and a park of 25 main road locomotive[3] and 760 wagons[4]. The rail network connects with the networks of Argentina through the El Precursor branch on the Salto Grande Dam, linking the cities of Salto and Concordia with the same track in both countries, and with Brazil in the Paso de Frontera Rivera-Livramento , with a different tuff.

Chart 1- Cargo Movement by railway by type of product. 2017[5]

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Source: National Observatory of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics of Uruguay.

[1] Source: National Observatory of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics of Uruguay.

[2] Dirt roads are not considered.

[3] Source: National Observatory of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics of Uruguay.

[4] Note: Does not include passenger wagons.

[5] Source: National Observatory of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics of Uruguay.