When we talk about the transportation through water in the logistics of the world we immediately think about the maritime carriage. However, before the development of this industry there was another way of moving merchandise which was developed even in the ancient Egypt when the Nile river was a crucial part of the economics of the empire and its later development around it.
But the Egyptians were not the only civilization which used the rivers for logistic purposes. The romans used the Tiber to carry merchandise from Aventine or Umbria to Rome, although nowadays the river is no longer navigable, and it is mainly used for touristic purposes.
The Spanish empire also used the rivers across its territory in south America as well as in the Iberic peninsula. The conquerors used rivers like the Magdalena, located in the former viceroyalty of Nueva Granada (Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela), to take out gold and other goods towards Caribbean see to then be transported to Europe; once in the peninsula, the Spanish used the Guadalquivir river to transport the goods inside the territory.
The nowadays’ importance of the river transportation relies on the fact that it combines the advantages of the maritime transportation compared to other means of transport. If the river is navigable, it can transport huge amounts of merchandise with a lower cost than trucks. For example, the port of Rotterdam’s inland navigation connections can transport merchandise to Germany, France, Poland and even the Black see, by using waterways such as the Danubio river.
Another example of inland navigation in Europe are the waterways developed by Germany, they use their principal rivers such as the Rhin or Elbe to transport merchandise in ships within the country, they have even developed infrastructure to improve the perform of the logistic in inner waterways. Germany has created a network of water channels that even have special bridges for the ships to better navigate (Kanalbrücken). The video posted below show the most important water bridge in Magdeburg.
In the Americas rivers are also an important part of the logistic. Rivers such as the Mississippi and Missouri in the United states, The Amazonas in Brazil, Colombia and Peru, The Plata in Argentina and Uruguay and the Magdalena in Colombia are important and growing transportation means for logistic operations in the continent.