Mexico - Transportation

The local, state, and federal Mexican road system amounted to 323,977 km (201,319 mi) in 2002, of which 96,221 km (59,791 mi) were paved in 2002; most roads are engineered for year-round service. In 2000 there were 8,765,358 registered vehicles, including 5,544,552 passenger cars and 3,220,806 commercial vehicles.

The major railroad system is the National Railway of Mexico. In 2002, the total route length was 18,000 km (11,185 mi) all standard gauge, consisting of six integrated lines. A railway improvement program was carried out during 1975-79, but in the mid-1980s, the network was still in disrepair. The Mexico City subway system, totaling 120 km (75 mi), suffers from overcrowding. The system's technology, however, is being exported to other developing countries.

Mexico's 2,900 km (1,802 mi) of inland waterways and lakes are not important for transportation, but ocean and coastal shipping is significant. Of Mexico's 102 ocean ports, the most important are Tampico, and Veracruz, on the Gulf of Mexico; Mazatlan and Manzanillo, on the Pacific coast; and Guayamas, on the Gulf of California. These five ports together handle about 80% of total general cargo tonnage for Mexico. Most Mexican ships are operated by the government-owned Maritime Transport of Mexico. The merchant marine in 2002 had 44 vessels totaling 656,594 GRT. The oil tanker fleet, owned and operated by Mexican Petroleum (Petróleos Mexicanos-PEMEX), the government oil monopoly, included 27 tankers.

Air transportation in Mexico has developed rapidly. In 2001 there were an estimated 1,852 airports and airfields, 231 with permanent-surface runways. Principal airports include Juan N. Alvarez at Acapulco, Cancun International at Cancun, Cozumel International at Cozumel, Miguel Hidalgo at Guadalajara, Gen. R. Buelna at Mazatlan, Manuel C. Rejon at Merida, Benito Juarez at Mexico City, Gral. Escobedo at Monterey, and G. Diaz Ordaz at Puerto Vallarta. Mexican commercial aircraft carried 20,043,200 passengers on scheduled domestic and international flights in 2001. The main airline company is the newly privatized Aeroméxico.

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