Country Listing

Portugal Table of Contents


Transportation and Communications

Portugal's transportation system in the late 1980s comprised 73,660 kilometers of roads, of which 61,000 kilometers were paved; a railroad network of 3,630 kilometers; and 820 kilometers of navigable inland waterways. Lisbon, on the Rio Tejo estuary, and the two other major ports at Leixões, near Porto, and Sines were fully equipped and had adequate warehousing facilities. Lisbon's Portela Airport was a major European air terminal and transit point for some eighteen airlines. Porto and the Algarve, as well as the Azores and Madeira islands, were also served by international airports. Transportes Aéreos Portugueses (TAP), the national airline, operated flights within the country and also served major European cities and several large cities in the United States, South America, and Africa (see fig. 9).

Much of Portugal's transportation infrastructure--the nationalized railroad, airline, merchant fleet, and trucking and bus lines--was to be restructured and/or privatized in the early 1990s. For example, Caminhos de Ferro Portuguese (CP), the national railroad, approved a 1988 plan that called for a US$1.5 billion investment to modernize the rail system by 1994. The plan included high-speed "super trains" to connect Portugal's major cities and Lisbon to Madrid. In addition, in the second half of the 1980s the EC began to give substantial assistance for improving the transportation infrastructure.

Portugal was following an ambitious program to modernize its communications system. The Assembly of the Republic approved in July 1989 the deregulation/liberalization of some telecommunications activities, which would allow private firms to operate complementary services, such as cellular phones, videotex, and highly value-added services such as fax, audiotex, and voicemail. Radio and television were also opening to private participation, and reception of satellite television was expanding rapidly.

Data as of January 1993