The Economist | 9/15/2011 6:00:00 PM
Bridging the gaps
September 15--A creaking transport network is holding back Colombia’s growth. How fast can Juan Manuel Santos improve it?, 246458
The costs of Colombia’s deficient infrastructure—which came 79th of 139 countries’ networks ranked by the World Economic Forum—are massive. Moving goods from inland cities to a port can be more expensive than shipping them from the port to a market halfway around the world. Gerardo Duque, a lorry driver, says driving the 410km from Bogotá to the south-western city of Cali can take 14 hours “on one of the better routes”. As a result, exporting a standard shipping container costs $1,770 in Colombia, against $1,480 in Argentina. Luis Carlos Villegas, the head of the national industry group, likens the infrastructure deficit to a 10-15% tax. And government planners say that resolving it could raise annual GDP growth by a full percentage point.
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