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Transportation in Uruguay


After World War II, the Uruguayan government purchased the British-owned railways and nationalised the entire system. The railways are run by the State Railway Administration. Four main lines connect the western and northern areas with Montevideo. In 2010, there were 1,641 km of track, all of which were standard-gauge, government-owned track.

Highways have surpassed railways as the principal means of conveyance of passengers and freight. In 2010, there were an estimated 77,732 km of roads, of which 7,743 km were paved. The Investment and Economic Development Commission's 10-year plan (1965-74) provided about $87 million for highway construction and improvement. A five-year plan for transport and public works, covering the years 1983-87 and partly financed by the IBRD and IDB, provided for construction of 10,000 km of new roads. In 1986, the IDB approved a loan of $36 million to help finance a highway development project. Two sections of highway (Routes 1 and 5) in addition to a main artery funneling traffic into Montevideo were scheduled for improvement. In 2000, there were 330,400 motor vehicles, of which 115,300 were passenger cars.

Montevideo is the major Uruguayan port. Colonia and Nueva Palmira are free ports. There are some 1,600 km of inland waterways, of which the most important are the Plata and the Uruguay; the latter has a depth of 4.3 m as far as Paysandú. There were 16 vessels in the merchant fleet in 2010.

There were 133 airports in 2013, 11 of which had paved runways. Carrasco, an airport 19 km from the centre of Montevideo, is used by most international carriers between Europe, Brazil and Argentina. Frequent air service links Buenos Aires with Montevideo. In 2001, 558,600 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international airline flights.




133 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways


total: 11

over 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways


total: 122

1,524 to 2,437 m: 3

914 to 1,523 m: 40

under 914 m: 79 (2013)


gas 257 km; oil 160 km (2013)


total: 1,641 km

standard gauge: 1,641 km 1.435-m gauge (1,200 km operational) (2010)


total: 77,732 km

paved: 7,743 km

unpaved: 69,989 km (2010)


1,600 km (2011)
Merchant marine


total: 16

by type: bulk carrier 1, cargo 2, chemical tanker 3, passenger/cargo 6, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 1

foreign-owned: 8 (Argentina 1, Denmark 1, Greece 1, Spain 5)

registered in other countries: 1 (Liberia 1) (2010)
Ports and terminals


major seaport(s): Montevideo






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