Physical Trade Infrastructure > Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Transport infrastructure

The IDB has broad experience in the financing of basic transport infrastructure, from roads and networks for rural transport to integration corridors. The development of transport infrastructure is mainly aimed at providing transport networks in good condition, and meeting uniform standards that enable the development of trade-related and productive activities. Good accessibility is the foundation for the development of transportation services and of activities that facilitate the formation of productive clusters, value-adding activities and trade synergies. The Bank supports transportation services that are under the responsibility of the national government and sub-national entities through financial and non-financial products, such as policy dialogues, seminars and training activities, among others.

The IDB also supports result-oriented maintenance standards in road networks and infrastructure, such as port dredging, and strives to ensure that the infrastructure built is maintained in a cost-efficient manner and in optimal conditions for its suitable use and operation.

Ports and maritime transport


Pablo Guerrero,
Infrastructure and Environment Sector,

Tel: +1 202 623 2416



Leopoldo Montañez
Infrastructure Integration Lead Specialist

Tel: +1 202 623 2508



Juan Manuel Leaño
Transport Lead Specialist

Tel: + 507 206 0936


As a result of its geographical situation and of the goods involved in foreign trade, ports and maritime transport play a fundamental role in the Inter-American region. An annual volume in the order of 1,450 million metric tons is operated through seaports, which are the most significant entry and departure points for foreign trade. Out of that volume, 80 per cent are exports and 20 per cent imports, given the distinctive feature of this region as an exporter of raw material products (minerals, grains, hydrocarbons).

Port performance has a significant impact on maritime connectivity, particularly in the transport of containers, which concentrates items with highest unit value. The Bank participates with financing for ports whose operation is still under public responsibility, as well as in the development of technical cooperation to improve port safety and service standards. By means of other cooperation mechanisms, the Bank facilitates the creation of agencies and policies aimed at increasing the participation of the private sector in the supply of infrastructure or related transportation services, seeking to capitalize operational improvements and efficiency from the private sphere.

The Bank has identified five key priority areas in an attempt to complement other ongoing initiatives that strive to identify areas of activity and opportunities for innovative logistics strategies and trade-related facilitation initiatives, including the optimization of the transportation infrastructure (ports and airports, inter-city and urban logistics platforms), cargo handling and operation, institutional arrangements, business logistics and trade facilitation, and the adoption of innovative technological systems supporting service operations:

  • Provision of basic infrastructure, for general purposes, not the road network;
  • A series of infrastructure services directly related to cargo logistics, where the private sector plays a prevailing role in the operation and where public-private associations and regulations are of outmost significance (basically includes ports and railroads);
  • Services operated by the state, and its border crossings infrastructure, either directly or through outsourcing (customs and customs-related management, migration and phyto-sanitary controls), that enable trade facilitation and the control of theft and robbery of goods;
  • Support for better private sector development, which comprises technical assistance and training for small-sized companies in the organization of their supply chains as well as for those who supply logistics services, such as carriers, logistics operators or brokers, and their organizations;
  • The organization of the public sector to foster quality policies in logistics performance, including inter-sector, inter-jurisdictional and public-private coordination entities, the development of monitoring systems to follow up on logistics performance, and the general training of related human resources.