Uruguay - Infrastructure, power, and communications
Uruguay is situated in the middle of a corridor that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is the gateway to the Panama-Paraguay River transportation system. The corridor is inhabited by 40 million people and covers an area of 3.1 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles). To take full advantage of its geographic position, Uruguay needs to make significant improvement to its transportation infrastructure . This would reduce Uruguay's freight costs, which are among the highest in South America.
The nation has 8,983 kilometers (5,582 miles) of roads, almost all paved. There are plans to build a combination passenger railway and underground subway system for Montevideo and its suburbs. Uruguay and Argentina are constructing a 35-kilometer (22-mile) bridge between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Colonia, Uruguay. This bridge, the longest of its kind in the world, will greatly expand direct trade between the 2 nations. Uruguay has 2,073 kilometers (1,288 miles) of railways and 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) of navigable waterways, many of which are used to transport small quantities of goods. Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil have announced plans to develop the 4,022 kilometer (2,500 miles) Panama-Paraguay-Uruguay rivers in order to transport goods to ports on the Atlantic Ocean. The plans call for a combination of construction, dredging, and port development that will ultimately cost US$935 million. Uruguay's main port is Montevideo; other ports include Fray Bentos, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Colonia, and Piriapolis. The nation's merchant marine consists of only 1 ship, a petroleum tanker.
Uruguay has 65 airports, but only 15 have paved runways, served by 10 international airlines and the national carrier, PLUNA. Carrasco International Airport in Montevideo is the nation's main international airport. It is undergoing a $60 million renovation that will significantly expand capacity. The nation is also building a $40 million airport at the resort town of Punta del Este.
There are 27 telephones per 100 people in Uruguay. Plans to privatize the telecommunications industry may dramatically lower costs and expand service, especially in the mobile phone market. In 1998, there were 100,000 mobile phones in the country, and 5 Internet service providers for the 12 percent of the population with access.
Uruguay has no fossil-fuel resources. More than 50 percent of its energy needs are met through imported oil (an average of 38,000 barrels per day). While natural gas currently does not contribute to the nation's energy needs, an $8 million, 19-kilometer (12-mile) pipeline was constructed in 1998 to provide natural gas from Argentina. A more substantial 213-kilometer (133-mile) pipeline is being constructed by British Gas and Pan American Energy (a joint venture between BP, Amoco, and ANCAP). These pipelines will eventually supply natural gas to over 70 Uruguayan towns and cities. In 1998, the nation's
|Country||Newspapers||Radios||TV Sets a||Cable subscribers a||Mobile Phones a||Fax Machines a||Personal Computers a||Internet Hosts b||Internet Users b|
|a Data are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.|
|b Data are from the Internet Software Consortium ( http://www.isc.org ) and are per 10,000 people.|
|SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.|
power plants produced 9.474 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity, 95.62 percent of which was provided by water power. In 1998, electricity consumption in Uruguay was 6.526 billion kWh. The nation has one of the highest rates of electrification, 96 percent, in the Western Hemisphere.