Brazil Infrastructure


The infrastructure of a country refers to the physical and organisational structures that it has put into place for the effective running of that country and the sustenance of its society.

Infrastructure refers to transport, communication systems, water, power, and public institutions (like schools, hospitals and prisons).

Roads remain the primary means of transport in and around Brazil – both for passengers and for freight purposes. The Brazilian highway system is one of the largest in the world, but is known for being inadequate, not catering to the ever-increasing needs of the cars. As a result, some of the roads are undergoing a major revamp and expansion, just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and the 2016 Olympic Games. Part of the motivation behind this expansion and development has also been to link the industrial sector with the less developed parts of the country by road. It is estimated that there are 1.2 billion people travelling the highways of Brazil every year.

Using railways as a means of transport began in the 1800’s in Brazil. In 1957, the various different railways were nationalised under Rede Ferroviária Federal, Sociedade Anônima (RFFSA).

However, this organisation broke up between 1999 and 2007 so that the various rail services are now under the control of a number of different public and private operators. There are four rail gauges in the country. These are the 1) broad gauge, 2) narrow gauge 3) dual gauge and 4) standard gauge.

Brazil’s air transport infrastructure is relatively well developed. In fact, there are about 300 airports in the country, of which around 50 are major commercial ports. In turn, 21 of these are international airports. There are more than 115 million passengers flying into, out of and around Brazil every year.

Most of Brazil’s power (around 90%, in fact) is generated by hydroelectric plants. These plants produce power by harnessing the gravitational force of flowing or falling water. Other power sources are fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Only companies owned by the state are permitted to produce power, and have been fairly reliable in doing so to date.

Telecommunication services in Brazil are well developed and efficient. This industry includes landlines as well as mobile services, television broadcasting, radio broadcasting, and computer / internet access. Today, more than 45% of the Brazilian population has access to the internet. The telecommunications infrastructure is fairly modern, particularly in central-south Brazil. However, the north and north-west are drastically less developed.

With all of the rivers in Brazil, there are approximately 50 000 kilometres of navigable waterways in this country. There are about 15 seaports or harbours along the coast, and there are two on the mammoth Amazon River. Corumbá is an international waterway on the Paraguay River.

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