Vastly underused, Brazil seeks to boost its waterway transport system

Only China and Russia have more navigable inland rivers than Brazil, yet only 2 percent of the country's cargo is transported via waterways

waterway infrastructure brazil investments
Dockworker loading goods onto a cargo and passenger boat. Santarém Pier, Tapajós River. Photo: Caio Pederneiras/Shutterstock

After three years of inactivity, the lock system at the Sobradinho dam resumed operations at the end of March, once again permitting the passage of boats along a gargantuan stretch of Brazil’s São Francisco River, linking the cities of Pirapora in Minas Gerais state and Juazeiro, roughly 1,371 kilometers away in the northeastern state of Bahia.

The Pirapora-Juazeiro stretch is the most important segment of the São Francisco River, which in turn is the foremost link between Brazil’s Center-West and Northeast regions. Besides forming part of a crucial multimodal distribution chain for agricultural products, it also allows for the...

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