Train Infrastructure


The spatial distribution of the transportation logistics in the Brazilian territory shows a prevalence of the road mode, as well as its concentration in the Center-South Region, with a highlight to the state of São Paulo . Even with an imbalanced distribution over the Brazilian territory, the road network has capillarity and density quite above the other transportation modes. Only in the Amazon Region does road transportation lose, since, on account of the dense natural river network, the waterways are of a great importance. On the other hand, the distribution of railways and waterways is quite reduced and with a very little exploited potential, especially when it comes to a country as big as Brazil .

This is the picture portrayed in the wall map “Transportation Logistics in Brazil”, designed by IBGE, on a 1:5,000,000 (1 cm = 50 km) scale, unveiling the main structures of transportation in the country (highways, railways and waterways etc.), as well as other equipment associated to the logistics of cargo and passenger transportation in the country, such as warehouses, inland ports (sometimes called “dry ports”), border points, public aerodromes and river port terminals. The text of Transportation Logistics in Brazil is available at “Support Material” in this release. The map can be accessed on link:

The wall map “Transport Logistics in Brazil ”s main sources of data the Bank Information and Transport maps of the National Plan for Transport Logistics (BIT-PNLT) – Ministry of Transport, the National Agency of Waterway Transportation (ANTAQ) the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC), the National Department of Transport Infrastructure (DNIT), the Infraero and the Internal Revenue Service of Brazil. Cartographic bases were used by IBGE and the BIT-PNLT.

The map aims to present the country’s main transport infrastructure (roads, railways, waterways etc.) and other equipment associated with the logistics of transporting cargo and people in the country, such as warehouses, indoor customs stations (called “ports dry “), border crossings, public and waterway terminals airfields. In addition to this base of transport infrastructure, they are represented on the map the density of the transport network in Brazil, the main structural roads of the territory and charge air flows in Brazil.

The work aims to contribute to the analysis and construction of a new geography of the country, from the understanding of the logistics of transport cargo and people as structuring dimensions of the Brazilian urban network and intraregional connections that articulate the country. In recent years, with economic growth and the increase in domestic market, Brazil has a growing demand for improvements in transport systems in order to reduce logistics costs and become more competitive domestic production abroad, as well as more accessible to the market internal. In this context, updating the information of the spatial distribution of transportation logistics on a national scale, is a strategic information to the present and planning the future of the territory and Brazilian society in the contemporary globalized world.

Some regions are characterized by high density of the transport network, for example, the Greater São Paulo and the metropolitan areas of Rio de Janeiro, in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre. Also stand out for the high accessibility areas between Recife and Joao Pessoa, between Brasilia and Goiânia, the surroundings of Salvador and São Luís. It is also possible to observe some “logistical gaps” where the transport network is scarce, as the interior of the Northeast; the Pantanal region, except for the area of influence of the Paraguay waterway; and the interior of the Amazon rain forest, except in the vicinity of Solimões-Amazonas waterways and wood.

Highways predominate in cargo transportation

The spatial distribution of transport logistics in Brazil presents predominance of roads, mainly concentrated in the center-south of the country, especially in the state of São Paulo. In 2009, according to the National Transport Confederation (CNT), 61.1% of all cargo transported in Brazil used the road transport system; 21.0% went by rail, 14% by waterways and river and sea port terminals and only 0.4% by air.

Sao Paulo transport infrastructure combines railways, highways and waterways

São Paulo is the only state with a transport infrastructure in which the inner cities are connected to the capital by a vast network including duplicate roads, railways and waterway Tietê. In addition, the state still holds the largest airport (Guarulhos) and the port with the highest cargo handling (Santos) in the country.

It also draws attention to the extent of not duplicate paved roads in northwestern Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, south of Minas Gerais and the Federal District and its surroundings, as well as on the coast of the Northeast, between Rio Grande do Norte and Salvador (BA). This distribution highlights the economic importance of these regions, that demand for greater accessibility and better transportation infrastructure.

Rail network serves mainly the transport of commodities

Historically, the rail network accompanied the expansion of coffee production to São Paulo west of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. However, major railways of today are used for the transportation of commodities, particularly iron ore and grain from the agricultural industry. Some of the most important railroads are: the North-South Railway, which connects the region of Annapolis (GO) to the Port of Itaqui in São Luís (MA), carrying predominantly soybean and soybean meal; the Carajás Railroad, which connects the Serra dos Carajás to Terminal Ponta da Madeira in São Luís (MA), carrying mainly iron ore and manganese and the Railroad Vitória-Minas, which carries mainly iron ore to Porto Shark.

Northern region is more dependent on waterways

Waterways, and railroads, are predominantly used to transport commodities such as grains and minerals, agricultural inputs, as well as oil and oil products, low value-added products and the production and transportation of scale bring competitiveness. The exception is the northern region, where transport by small boats of passengers and cargo is of historical significance. In addition to the waterways of the Solimões / Amazonas and Madeira, the region depends heavily on other navigable rivers for intraregional movement. Other waterways of extreme importance for the country are the waterways of the Tiete-Parana and Paraguay, which play an important role in the movement of agricultural products in the state of São Paulo and the Central West Region.

Warehouses accompanying concentration of agricultural production

The concentration of grain warehouses in the South and Midwest and in the state of São Paulo reflects the agricultural production in these areas. Note that, in the South (except northwestern Paraná) and the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, more consolidated production, the warehouses are characterized by lower capacity, while in the Midwest region, the border area of expansion modern agriculture, where the main product is soybean, they are larger.

Ports promote export of soybeans, oil and oil products and iron ore

Ports serve primarily as commodities exit routes, mainly soy, iron ore, oil and oil products, which are among the main products of Brazilian exports. Regarding soybeans, the highlights are the ports of Itacoatiara (AM), Paranaguá (PR), Rio Grande (RS), Salvador (BA), Santarém (PA), Sao Francisco do Sul (SC) and the Port of Itaqui ( BAD).

Fuel and oil products excel in many Northeast terminals, especially Aratu (Candeias – BA), Itaqui (MA), Fortaleza (CE), Suape (Ipojuca – PE), Maceió (AL) and São Gonçalo do Amarante (Pecém – EC).

The ports that move more iron ore are the private terminals of Ponta da Madeira, the Vale in São Luís (MA) and Tubarão in Vitória (ES). The first receives mainly the production of the Serra de Carajás, Pará; the second is associated with the production of Minas Gerais.

The largest amount of cargo handled in the organized ports of the country is located in the Port of Santos (SP), due to its strategic position. He is third in the ranking that considers Organized Ports and Terminals Private Use (led by Private Terminal Ponta da Madeira and Tubarão) and moves on a large scale, stored and transported in general cargo container. He is the pour point of production with higher added value that goes to other regions of the country and for export, and is landing site closest to the largest consumer center of the country, which includes the Greater São Paulo.

São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro concentrated air passengers

The movement of cargo by air, due to high cost, is most often used for products with high added value or more perishable and require greater speed and security in the shuttle. In Brazil, this transport is used in a few routes, with more than half of the concentrated traffic into only ten connections between pairs of cities, and the connection Sao Paulo Manaus encompassed more than 20% of the total charge transported in 2010.

São Paulo also concentrates most of the air transport of passengers, with 26.9 million passengers on domestic flights and 10.4 million international in 2010. The second place went to Rio de Janeiro, with 14.5 million and 3 , 1 million, respectively.

São Paulo concentrates almost half of the country dry ports

Customs stations inside, also called “dry ports”, are installed next to areas of significant production and consumption and contribute to streamline export and import of goods operations. The state of São Paulo concentrates most of these structures, 28 of 62 from all over Brazil, in the metropolitan area and surrounding cities. In contrast, the Northeast and North regions have two stations each located in Recife and Salvador, Belem and Manaus. The South region has 11 cities with dry ports and the Midwest three. Despite the extensive line of Brazil’s border with Peru, Bolivia and Colombia, is on the border with Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay – countries, with Brazil, the Mercosur since its creation – that interactions between neighboring countries are more dynamic, and therefore there is a higher occurrence of posts Internal Revenue Service and twin cities. The latter is cross-border population high density where the flows of goods and people can be higher or lower depending on, among other factors, the investments implemented by neighboring States.


Carlos Monteiro is a Brazilian citizen, graduated in Business Administration by the Catholic University of São Paulo. He lives in Odense, Denmark with his Danish Wife, Cathrine, and their half Danish /Brazilian daughter Ines Marie. You are very welcome to be in contact him at any time.
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