Colombia: high priority investments in pipeline for infrastructure

20.08.2012 By: TRANSFER Consultancy based on Export.gov

In order to be able to economically compete with neighbours Chile and Peru, infrastructure investments are needed in Colombia. According to unofficial estimates by the Ministry of Transport about USD 26 billion will be reserved for infrastructure projects in the near future. The World Economic Forum (WEF) confirms that inadequate infrastructure is the second biggest problem for doing proper business in Colombia. In their October 2011 report Colombia ranked 108 in the quality of roads, 109 in the quality of port infrastructure and 94 in the quality of air transport infrastructure out of 142 countries.

In fact only 15 percent of Colombia's roads are paved and the nation has just 1,000 kilometers of dual-lane divided highways. Colombia also has 900 kilometers of railroad and river navigation has yet to be developed to transport goods on a large-scale. Taking these facts into consideration, the Colombian government has created an ambitious program to update the country´s infrastructure by 2014 with investments of more than USD 15 billion.

The Colombian government divided road infrastructure into three main categories: Roads Cat I, II and III.

  1. Roads Cat I connect the main capitals (such as Bogotá, Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla or also called the main production centers) to the ports in the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. In this category the central government will build two way highways in association with the private sector through concessions.
  2. Roads Cat II or secondary roads connect small municipalities to the departments’ capitals (Colombia has departments instead of states as regional political divisions; there are 32 departments in the country). The government of each department is responsible for the maintenance of the secondary roads.
  3. Roads Cat III concern the roads that connect farms in the region to nearby small towns. These roads are utilized to transport agricultural products to small municipalities where all products are being gathered. The central government through the Ministry of Transportation is responsible to maintain those roads using central government funds.


By 2013 Colombia plans to award 5,000 km in concessions, a majority double-lane highways and 1,000 kilometers of railroads that will connect production centers with consumption and export centers. Already in November 2011 the Colombian government announced an ambitious reform in which the Colombian Infrastructure Agency (ANI) was created, among other institutions. This reform is part of president Santo’s Good Governance Program. ANI, a branch of the Ministry of Transportation, is in charge of all infrastructure project including roads, airports and ports and will be replacing the current National Institution of Roads, Instituto Nacional de Vias (INCO). In terms of port facility the Colombian government is responsible for investments pertaining to maritime canal access, access roads and maintenance of river canals, although the most important ones are private. The Colombian Civil Aviation Agency (Aerocivil) will be accompanied while coordinating investments in airport terminals and aeronautical infrastructure (including all equipment needed to assist aircraft during flights, such as tower control equipment, radars, VHF unidirectional radio range (VORs), GPS and ADS-B equipment, Instrument Landing systems (ILS), meteorological and communication equipment and Air Traffic Control (ATC) etc).

Best prospects for transportations and infrastructure are:

  • Engineering and construction services
  • Bridge design services
  • Aeronautical infrastructure equipment and services
  • Intelligence transportation systems equipment and services
  • Road safety equipment and services
  • Railroad equipment and services
  • Maritime infrastructure / river navigation