Port infrastructure
Sea and river transportation
The Port of Barranquilla has two major tributaries, the Magdalena River and the Caribbean Sea, which allows it to have easy and quick access to other ports of in country and overseas.

The Port Area of Barranquilla has a number of port terminals located in the eastern and western banks of the Magdalena River. They are located between the bridge Laureano Gomez and the mouth of the Magdalena River at a length of 22 miles, which allow the effective development of maritime and river operations.

Note that these terminals are built and operated by port companies through a port concession contract. However, other port terminals are operated by private companies that directly manage the loading and unloading of goods, as in the case of: Monómeros Colombo- Venezolanos, Quintal and Riverport, among others.

Due to Barranquilla's port proximity to international markets, it is connected to 286 ports, in 86 countries over the world, through different routes such as USA, Spain, UK, etc. It also has 16 shipping lines that provide transportation of goods at low cost, depending on the destination and weight of the goods and frequent itineraries. This facilitates that the products processed in the free zone immediately go to markets on the East Coast of the United States, Europe, Central America and the Far East.

Navigability of the Magdalena River
Magdalena River Basin:

  • It covers 24% of the country

  • Generates 75% of agricultural production

  • It produces 90% of the coffee

  • Runs through 18 states

  • 80% of population settles nearby

  • It produces 85% of GDP

  • Provides 95% of hydropower

  • It covers:

    - 70% of the ground infrastructure
    - 95% of the rail infrastructure
    - 90% of river transport

River transport
Volumes of cargo transport through Colombia:

  • Truck: 92%

  • Train: 7%

  • River: 1%

Comparative growth over the last decade:

  • Fluvial Transport: 0.5%

  • Colombian Economy: 4.3%

Permanent Boat navigation:

  • Over 120 ton. 1,188

  • Less than 120 ton. 1,305

Transitory Boat Navigation:

  • Over 120 ton. 277

Load units to mobilize 1,588 Metric Tons
Distance of a ton per gallon of fuel used
River transport consumes less fuel and emits less pollution than terrestrial.
Amount of CO2 generated by the same volume of cargo.
Carrying the same volume of cargo in wagons, generates 30% more CO2 than in barges, and 1,000% more contamination in trucks than on barges.
Río Magdalena's navigability project
River transport is the cheapest means of transport for moving cargo and it's the dynamic engine of the regional economy. There are limitations of permanent and seasonal drafts, which depend on the hydrological cycle. The formation of obstacles and constant wandering of the Magdalena River, originated by the sedimentary basin formation, require substantial improvements. This can be accomplished through works that maintain a stable, reliable, navigable channel.


USD$1.3 billion

· Developing the river to transport goods, hydroelectric power generation and boost tourism.


It restores navigation between Barrancabermeja (km630) and Puerto Salgar (886 km). The latter connects by road to the production centers of the capital and the coffee zone (eje cafetero), being the destination and starting point of more than 60% of national river cargo. The works are designed to establish a stable navigable channel even in summer conditions, with an adequate width to convey low flows and concentrate them through the main part of the river.


1. Channeling Works in Puerto Salgar and Barrancabermeja (256 kms):

Channeling works of Barrancabermeja and Puerto Salgar (256 kms):

The methodology used by the Corps of Engineers of the United States on the Mississippi River was used for the design of the channeling. The proposed works comprise a set of shore coatings, channeling ditches and partial closures of side arms in shallow waters, to minimize the spread of the summer flow and concentrate it in one deeper main channel. This substantially decreases maintenance dredging costs, as has happened in other countries, especially in the middle sector of the Mississippi River.

Works in two different stages:

a. Barrancabermeja (Km 631) to Puerto Berrio (730 Km)

b. Puerto Berrio (Km 730) to Puerto Salgar (886 Km)

Time: 3 years

2. Permanent dredging along the entire navigable channel

Minimum depth: 7 ft.

a. Canal del Dique: Dredging value: $ 13,500 million / year Volume: 1,200,000 m3.

b. Access channel to Barranquilla: Dredging CAB value: $ 10,500 million / year Volume: 765,505 m3.

c. Puerto Salgar sector. Barrancabermeja: Dredging value: $9.000 million/ yearly. Volume: 900.000 m3.

d. Barrancabermeja Calamar Sector. Dredging value: $6.000 million

Time: 10 years.
For more information
Port Superintendence
Ministry of Transport
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