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Transportation in Peru


The system of highways that was the key to the unification of the Inca Empire was not preserved by the Spanish conquerors. The lack of an adequate transportation system is still a major obstacle to economic integration and development.

Peru's railway system, consisting of 1,989 km of track in 2006, nationalised in 1972, is subject to landslides and guerilla attacks. Operation of the railway system was given in concession in July 1999, for 30 years, to two companies: Ferrovias Central Andina SA (central railway) and Ferrocarril Transandino SA (south and southeast railways). The two principal railway systems, the Central and Southern railways, were built during the second half of the 19th century and were at one time owned and operated by British interests. The Central Railway, the world's highest standard-gauge railway, connects Lima-Callao with the central sierra. The Southern Railway links Arequipa and Cuzco with the ports of Mollendo and Matarani and runs to Puno on Lake Titicaca, where steamers provide cross-lake connections with Bolivia. The Tacna-Arica Railway, totalling 62 km and linking Peru with Chile, is also a part of the nationalised system.

In 2012, of the estimated 140,672 km of existing roads, only 18,698 km were paved. The nation's highways are deteriorating, especially in the mountains, where landslides and guerilla attacks often occur. The two primary routes are the 3,000 km north-south Pan American Highway, connecting Peru with Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile, and the Trans-Andean Highway, which runs about 800 km from Callao to Pucallpa, an inland port on the Ucayali River. The 2,500-km Jungle Edge Highway, or Carretera Marginal de la Selva, spans most of Peru along the eastern slopes of the Andes and through the selva (jungle). In 2000, there were 318,270 automobiles and 208,252 commercial vehicles. About 60% of inland freight and 90% of all passengers are carried by road.

The Amazon River with its tributaries, such as the Marañón and the Ucayali, provides a network of waterways for eastern Peru. Atlantic Ocean vessels go 3,700 km up the Amazon to Iquitos and, at high water, to Pucallpa. All together there are 8,808 km of waterways. Peru has 11 deep water ports, and as of 2010, its merchant fleet consisted of 22 vessels over 1,000 tons. Only Peruvian ships may engage in coastal shipping. Callao, Peru's chief port, and Salaverry, Pisco and Ilo have been expanded.

Much of Peru would be inaccessible without air transport. In 2013, there were an estimated 191 airports, 59 of which had paved runways. The two principal airports are Coronel Francisco Secada at Iquitos and Jorge Chavez at Lima. In 2001, 1,604,900 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights. The Peruvian Air Force also operates some commercial freight and passenger flights in rainforest areas.


Airports : 191 (2013)
Airports - with paved runways : total: 59

over 3,047 m: 5

2,438 to 3,047 m: 21

1,524 to 2,437 m: 16

914 to 1,523 m: 12

under 914 m: 5 (2013)
Airports - with unpaved runways : total: 132

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 19

914 to 1,523 m: 30

under 914 m: 82 (2013)
Heliports : 5 (2013)
Pipelines : extra heavy crude 786 km; gas 1,526 km; liquid petroleum gas 679 km; oil 1,033 km; refined products 15 km (2013)
Railways : total: 1,907 km

standard gauge: 1,772 km 1.435-m gauge

narrow gauge: 135 km 0.914-m gauge (2012)
Roadways : total: 140,672 km (of which 18,698 km are paved)

note: includes 24,593 km of national roads (of which 14,748 km are paved), 24,235 km of departmental roads (2,340 km paved), and 91,844 km of local roads (1,611 km paved) (2012)
Waterways : 8,808 km (there are 8,600 km of navigable tributaries on the Amazon system and 208 km on Lago Titicaca) (2011)
Merchant marine : total: 22

by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 5, liquefied gas 2, petroleum tanker 13

foreign-owned: 8 (Chile 6, Ecuador 1, Spain 1)

registered in other countries: 9 (Panama 9) (2010)
Ports and terminals : major seaport(s): Callao, Matarani, Paita

river port(s): Iquitos, Pucallpa, Yurimaguas (Amazon)

oil terminals: Conchan oil terminal, La Pampilla oil terminal

container port(s) (TEUs): Callao (1,616,365)






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