This chapter deals with the impact of freight movements on urban economic development in the Amazon basin. The mighty river Amazon has long served as the major expressway for both indigenous people and colonial trade. Cities such as Belém and Manaus thrived in the late nineteenth century on the basis of commodity trade, particularly rubber. When rubber trade for the global markets moved from Brazil to Southeast Asia in the first half of the twentieth century, these cities went into urban economic decline. Since the early 1980s, Amazonia has undergone a process of rapid urbanization. More recently, Amazon shipping is on the rise again as ‘new’ commodities are being extracted from the jungle interior. These developments are accommodated by new private and public investments in port infrastructure, as well as Brazil’s overall economic growth. But while Manaus is experiencing an economic boom – largely due to its Free Trade Zone and its hub location – the coastal city of Belém is running the risk of being bypassed by these new commodity flows which consequently affects the city’s ability to upgrade its urban economic profile.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Amazon basin, economic development, urban development
Publisher Routledge
ISBN 978-0-203-10614-3
Persistent URL
Series ISS Staff Group 3: Human Resources and Local Development
Jacobs, W, Pegler, L.J, Reis, M.A.S, & Pereira, H.D.S. (2012). Amazon shipping, commodity flows, and urban economic development. In Cities, Regions and Flows. Routledge. Retrieved from