Jamaica - Transportation

Jamaica has an extensive system of roads; in 2002 there were 19,000 km (11,806 mi) of roads, including 13,433 km (8,347 mi) of paved roads. In 2000 there were 155,300 licensed passenger cars and 57,600 commercial vehicles on the island. Motorbus service, which has greatly facilitated travel, is operated by the government-owned Jamaica Omnibus Services Company.

The standard-gauge rail system totals 272 km (169 mi) of track. Of that total, 207 km (129 mi) belong to the governmentowned Jamaica Railway Corp. (JRC) in common carrier service but are no longer operational. The remaining track is privately owned and used to transport bauxite.

Kingston, the main port, handles nearly all of the country's foreign imports but only a small percentage of its exports, by weight. The remaining exports are shipped through 18 other ports, which tend to specialize in particular commodities: Montego Bay and Port Antonio in bananas and sugar, for instance, and Port Esquivel and Ocho Rios in bauxite. More than 30 shipping companies provide passenger and cargo service. The port facilities of Kingston harbor are among the most modern in the Caribbean. Jamaica's merchant marine has a small fleet, including, as of 2002, one ship totaling 21,954 GRT.

Air service is the major means of passenger transport between Jamaica and outside areas. In 2001 there were 36 airports, 11 of which had paved runways. Control of the two modern airports, Norman Manley International Airport (Kingston) and Sangster International Airport (Montego Bay), was assigned to the Airports Authority of Jamaica in 1974. About eleven airlines provide scheduled international air transportation. Air Jamaica, the national airline, operates internationally in association with British Airways and British West Indian Airways. The government owns a controlling interest in Air Jamaica and has also invested in a domestic air carrier, Trans Jamaican Airlines. In 2001, 1,946,100 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.

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Apr 23, 2013 @ 10:10 am
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