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Freight Transportation: The Latin American Market

August 2003

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Office of International Programs FHWA/US DOT (HPIP)
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

Tel: 202-366-9636
Fax: 202-366-9626



The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the Department of Transportation.

The metric units reported are those used in common practice by the persons interviewed. They have not been converted to pure SI units because in some cases, the level of precision implied would have been changed.

The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear herein only because they are considered essential to the document.

The publication of this document was sponsored by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration under contract number DTFH61-99-C00005. awarded to American Trade Initiatives, Inc. Any opinions, options, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Government, the authors' parent institutions, or American Trade Initiatives, Inc.

This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

Technical Report Documentation Page
1. Report No.
2.Government Accession No. 3.Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Freight Transportation: The Latin American Market
5.Report Date
April 2003
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s) Larry Brown, Harry Caldwell, Gary Gallegos, Arno Hart,
Marion Hart, Jr., Michael Meyer, Kam Movassaghi, R. Leo Penne,
Brian Plant, C.D. Reagan, Stephen Rybicki, Jose San Martin Romero
8.Performing Organization Report No.

9. Performing Organization Name and Address
American Trade Initiatives
P.O. Box 8228
Alexandria, VA 22306-8228

10. Work Unit No.(TRAIS)
11. Contract or Grant No.
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of International Programs
Office of Policy
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
13.Type of Report and Period Covered
14.Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
FHWA COTR: Hana Maier, Office of International Programs

16. Abstract
Latin America is a key trading region for the United States, Canada, and Mexico, the North American Free
Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries. The Federal Highway Administration, American Association of State
Highway and Transportation Officials, and National Cooperative Highway Research Program sponsored a
scanning study to examine characteristics of trade flows between NAFTA and Latin American countries and
learn how countries handle trade-related transportation infrastructure, border crossings, and freight security.

The delegation observed that while the countries visited-Bahamas, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile,
Panama, and Mexico-depend heavily on trade, the economic downturn has aggravated financial and infra
structure challenges in those countries and limited trade expansion. Ports are major centers of trade for the
countries, and the Panama Canal is emerging as the region's most strategic facility for NAFTA countries.

The scanning team's recommendations include continued monitoring of the Latin American market and the
impact of trade on transportation infrastructure. The team also recommends that NAFTA countries work
closely with Latin American countries and port authorities to coordinate border crossing and freight security

17. Key Words

NAFTA, trade, port, border crossing, logistics, freight
security, free trade zone, transportation infrastructure

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public from the
Office of International Programs
FHWA-HPIP, Room 3325
US Dept. of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590


19. Security Classif. (of this report)
20. Security Classif. (of this page)
21. No. of Pages

22. Price

Reproduction of completed page authorized Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72)

The Latin American


Larry L. Brown
Mississippi DOT

Harry Caldwell

Gary L. Gallegos
San Diego Association of Governments

Arno Hart
Wilbur Smith Associates

Marion Hart, Jr.
Florida DOT

Michael D. Meyer
Georgia Institute of Technology

Kam K. Movassaghi
Louisiana DOTD

R. Leo Penne

Brian Plant
Transport Canada

C.D. Reagan

Stephen J. Rybicki
Transportation Security

Jose San Martin Romero
Secretaria de Communicaciones y


American Trade Initiatives, Inc.

LGB & Associates, Inc.

for the

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)
U.S. Department of Transportation


The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials


The National Cooperative Highway Research Program
(Panel 20-36)
of the Transportation Research Board

August 2003


The Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) international programs focus on meeting the growing demands of its partners at the Federal, State, and local levels for access to information on state-of-the-art technology and the best practices used worldwide. While FHWA is considered a world leader in highway transportation, the domestic highway community is interested in the advanced technologies being developed by other countries, as well as innovative organizational and financing techniques used by FHWA's international counterparts.

The International Technology Scanning Program accesses and evaluates foreign technologies and innovations that could significantly benefit U.S. highway transportation systems. Access to foreign innovations is strengthened by U.S. participation in the technical committees of international highway organizations and through bilateral technical exchange agreements with selected nations. The program is undertaken cooperatively with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and its Select Committee on International Activities, and the Transportation Research Board's National Cooperative Highway Research Program (Panel 20-36), the private sector, and academia.

FHWA and its partners jointly determine priority topic areas. Teams of specialists in the specific areas of expertise being investigated are formed and sent to countries where significant advances and innovations have been made in technology, management practices, organizational structure, program delivery, and financing. Teams usually include Federal and State highway officials, private sector and industry association representatives, and members of the academic community.

FHWA has organized more than 50 of these reviews and disseminated results nationwide. Topics have included pavements, bridge construction and maintenance, contracting, intermodal transport, organizational management, winter road maintenance, safety, intelligent transportation systems, planning, and policy. Findings are recommended for follow-up with further research and pilot or demonstration projects to verify adaptability to the United States. Information about the scan findings and results of pilot programs are then disseminated nationally to State and local highway transportation officials and the private sector for implementation.

This program has resulted in significant improvements and savings in road program technologies and practices throughout the United States, particularly in the areas of structures, pavements, safety, and winter road maintenance. Joint research and technology-sharing projects have also been launched with international counterparts, further conserving resources and advancing the state of the art.

For a complete list of International Technology Scanning topics, and to order free copies of the reports, please see pages iii-iv.

Website: http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/
Email: international@fhwa.dot.gov


International Technology Scanning Program: Bringing Global Innovations to U.S. Highways


Geotechnical Engineering Practices in Canada and Europe
Geotechnology-Soil Nailing
International Contract Administration Techniques for Quality Enhancement-CATQEST
Contract Administration: Technology and Practice in Europe


European Asphalt Technology
European Concrete Technology
South African Pavement Technology
Highway/Commercial Vehicle Interaction
Recycled Materials in European Highway Environments
Pavement Preservation Technology in France, South Africa, and Australia


European Bridge Structures
Asian Bridge Structures
Bridge Maintenance Coatings
European Practices for Bridge Scour and Stream Instability Countermeasures
Advanced Composites in Bridges in Europe and Japan
Steel Bridge Fabrication Technologies in Europe and Japan
Performance of Concrete Segmental and Cable-Stayed Bridges in Europe

Planning and Environment

European Intermodal Programs: Planning, Policy, and Technology
National Travel Surveys
Recycled Materials in European Highway Environments
Geometric Design Practices for European Roads
Sustainable Transportation Practices in Europe
Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Across European Highways
European Right-of-Way and Utilities Best Practices


Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety in England, Germany and the Netherlands
Speed Management and Enforcement Technology: Europe & Australia
Safety Management Practices in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand
Road Safety Audits-Final Report
Road Safety Audits-Case Studies
Innovative Traffic Control Technology & Practice in Europe
Commercial Vehicle Safety Technology & Practice in Europe
Methods and Procedures to Reduce Motorist Delays in European Work Zones
Managing and Organizing Comprehensive Highway Safety in Europe


Advanced Transportation Technology
European Traffic Monitoring
Traffic Management and Traveler Information Systems
European Winter Service Technology
Snowbreak Forest Book - Highway Snowstorm Countermeasure Manual (Translated from Japanese)
European Road Lighting Technologies
Freight Transportation: The European Market
Traveler Information Systems in Europe

Policy & Information

Emerging Models for Delivering Transportation Programs and Services
Acquiring Highway Transportation Information from Abroad-Handbook
Acquiring Highway Transportation Information from Abroad-Final Report
International Guide to Highway Transportation Information
European Practices in Transportation Workforce Development

All publications are available on the internet at http://www.international.fhwa.dot.gov/

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Page last modified on November 7, 2014
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