Ecuador - 2 Logistics Infrastructure


In August 2020, Ecuador's exports were mainly from Guayaquil-Marítimo ($ 915M), Quito ($ 376M), Puerto Bolívar ($ 52.6M), Tulcán ($ 40.7M), and Guayaquil-Air ($ 39M), while The import destinations were mainly Guayaquil-Marítimo ($ 663M), Manta ($ 158M), Quito ($ 155M), Tulcán ($ 63.9M), and Guayaquil-Air ($ 58.4M).

The Ecuadorian Institute for the Promotion of Exports and Investments Proecuador, an entity of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, consider the macro logistics infrastructure is based on the following strategical assets: 10 renovated airports and 13 operating at the level national, of which 4 are international.

The port system made up of seven state ports and ten private docks, specialized in general cargo and oil, the main ones are: Guayaquil, Manta, Bolívar. River Transportation: Ecuador has several navigable rivers, such as: El Guayas and El Río Napo, which is a waterway that is part of the Manta-Manaus project. Ecuador has more than 966 km. of tracks state railways, join Sierra and Costa and is mainly used for tourism purposes.

Ecuador's logistics structure would be set up of the following systems:

  • National primary node: dominates the logistics of the country. Guayaquil and Quito.
    • Quito logistics node: this central area has established a set of logistical relationships with the rest of the country's areas. The Quito airport it is the one that mobilizes most of the exports.
    • Guayaquil logistics-port node: concentrates an important manufacturing base in the country. In addition, it channels the flow of maritime foreign trade, since it is the only port of the country that moves containers of relevant way.
  • Intermediate distribution nodes: as intermediate domains between the primary nodes and secondary. Cuenca and Manta. 
  • Foreign trade nodes: ports, airports and border centers with stable trade flows and significant as sustained volume of operations.
  • National logistics area: the most powerful logistics relationships in the country are structured from the coast to the mountains, between Guayaquil and Quito, encompassing Cuenca, in the inter-Andean valley of the southern Ecuadorian highlands.
  • Secondary logistics areas: they are headed by Quito and the urban centers of Latacunga, Ambato, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas and Ibarra. Manta, together with Guayaquil and Machala, make up a logistics area, as do the Cuenca nodes and Loja.
  • National corridors: The most representative corridor is the Quito-Guayaquil connection for the exchange of merchandise and its interrelation with foreign trade nodes.
  • North-South Corridor: structures the country through the Andean highlands and links Macara (border with Peru) with Tulcán (border with Colombia), connecting Quito with the two neighboring countries.



Logistics Performance Index (LPI)

Ecuador is ranked 62 in the world (167 listed countries), surpassing Peru (83) and Venezuela (142), but below Colombia (58) and Chile (34), surpassing its neighboring countries in efficiency in its customs clearance processes and quality of Infrastructure. In 2018, Ecuador was ranked 70*.

The World Bank, Maritime Connectivity Index.

In the last publication, Ecuador decreased its index in relation to the previous year, despite the fact that experienced significant growth in 2016 compared to the previous period. However, the country is below Colombia, Chile and Peru, which indicates that Ecuadorian exporters have less cargo capacity for export in ships, and is reflected in higher transportation costs not being able to take advantage of economies of scale.


Despite the advances in investment in recent years, Ecuador continues to have deficits in specialized logistics infrastructure. The country requires progress in investment in road and chain support infrastructures productive, commercial networks and diversified offer of value-added logistics services. The cost of logistics is one of the main problems for the country's exports; this is due to the fact that small business units in the logistics and transport sector are the ones that predominate.

The national structuring road axis is represented by the Carretera Panamericana, 1,400 km long, which crosses the country from north to south, joining Quito with Tulcán (border with Colombia) and Macará (border with Peru). The country suffers from a network of secondary roads and tertiary conditions for cargo transportation. This situation is trying to be mitigated with actions promoted by the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

Ecuador has four port areas, all them located in the Pacific, while the river ports are positioned in the Amazon area of the country, on the banks of the main rivers. The Port of Guayaquil, in the province of Guayas, is the one with the largest cargo movement in the country

Air cargo is based mainly on the export of flowers. Quito airport concentrates 90% of this traffic. The logistics of exporting flowers as a single commodity could be considered as a handicap to the good positioning of this national product abroad, since there is an imbalance between exports and imports.

The infrastructure of the railway network is not ready for transport of goods. Its development has been practically null in recent years, despite the fact that it originally constituted the best means of transport and the main means of communication between the inner lands and the coast.

World Bank “Doing Business” Ecuador Ranking in 2020

Presented by Federación Ecuatoriana de Exportadores- FEDEXPOR

Ecuador is in position 129 out of 190 economies, with a score of 57.7, worsening its performance in the ease of doing business compared to 2019, even its score is lower than the average for Latin America and the Caribbean which is 59.1. In addition, the average recorded in the high-income economies of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is 78.4.

In Ecuador, the time to export is 96 hours, taking into consideration border compliance that includes obtaining, preparing and presenting documents during handling at ports or borders, customs clearance and inspection procedures. Additionally, the average cost (border compliance) to export in Ecuador is $ 560 dollars.

With respect to the region, Ecuador is above the average in terms of hours to export, since in the region the average is 55.3 hours, evidencing a great need to improve processes that facilitate trade and mainly exports.


The Logistics Profile of Ecuador

Developed by the Latin American Development Bank “CAF” (former: Corporación Andina de Fomento) includes Ecuador's strategic vision, ambitions and logistics role, establishing a line of advance in the country's strategic ambitions**, which for Ecuador would consist of advancing from the current Level 1.1, which means: effective national logistics with the current production profile, at Level 1.2 in the short and medium term: efficient national logistics with greater added value and at Level 2.1 in the long term: logistics capacities to attract trade traffic from third countries, a subregional integrating axis between the two oceanic slopes.



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