Money On The River

To understand how important the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers are we need to do a comparison between those two and another river that is heavily commercialized. Let's compare it to the Mississippi River. It is common knowledge that the Mississippi River is one of the major arteries for commerce in America. According to World Port Source the Port of New Orleans has 8 billion dollars worth of revenue pass its port annually and over 500 million tons of cargo. In comparison World Port Source says the Port of Belem at the mouth of the Amazon handles just over a million tons of cargo which is mostly comprised of wood, wheat, chestnuts, pepper, and metallic silicon. There is no net worth in revenues for the port. There is unfortunately no port data for the Orinoco River.

Ever since World War II, the economic development of the Amazon has been a priority for Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Many penetrating roads from areas of high population to the Oriente (a region of barely explored tropical rain forest in eastern Ecuador. These roads are used to carry minerals and hard wood from the low population areas to the cities. Some of the minerals found near the Amazon are iron, gold, copper, nickel, manganese, and tin. Tropical fish are also a source of revenue for the people of the Amazon.


The Orinoco is much less developed than the Amazon. The economy is relatively weak there because it is so under developed. It is rich in mineral deposits similarly to the Amazon. Some of these minerals include iron, manganese, nickel, vanadium (a metallic element useful for forming alloy's), chrome, gold, and diamonds. Petroleum and natural gas are also exploited in this area. The Orinoco and its tributaries long have served as vast waterways for the indigenous inhabitants of the Venezuelan surrounding area; making transportation an important economic need not only the indigenous people but for cargo ships. Many of Venezuela's leading seaports which include La Guaira, Puerto Cabello, and Maracaibo rely on the interior waterways of the Orinoco River to maneuver ships. During flood and rainy seasons boats with outboard motors are the only means of communication throughout large areas of the river basin. Dredging has allowed large oceangoing vessels to navigate the Orinoco from its mouth to its confluence with the Caroní River in order to tap the iron ore deposits of the Guiana Highlands. River steamers carry cargo as far as Puerto Ayacucho and the Atures Rapids. Transportation also supports the fishery that occurs in the Orinoco. Orinoco fishery is multi-specific, with around 80 different species found in the fish markets at different times of year.


Similarly the Amazon is the most notable inland waterway. It is navigable by ship from the Atlantic Ocean to Iquitos in Peru, leading to important seaports which include Callao, Salaverry, Pacasmayo, Paita, and San Juan in which cargo ships travel to. River transportation is also used for fishery, in which many of the indigenous people depend on for food and their survival.

Until next week,

Abe, Jay, and Mario

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