June 8, 2017

Inland Ports - Manaus, Brazil

In this series I will present what I think are the most fantastic inland ports in the world. Join me in this discovery! You can read the first instalment of this series - on the port of Duisburg, Germany - by clicking here.

2. Manaus, Brazil

Which is the ultimate inland port? Well, in my mind the answer is easy: Manaus, Brazil.

To reach Manaus you have to go up the Amazon River - the largest river in the world in terms of volume and area. From the Atlantic coast, even big ships can easily navigate the 1450km inland to reach Manaus. 

The River Nile may be longer than the Amazon, but it can't take ships anywhere near as big as the Amazon can. With its source in the Peruvian Andes, the Amazon flows for 6400km. 20% of the water that runs on earth's surface is carried by the Amazon and 175,000 cubic metres per second are discharged into the Atlantic. This discharge is so great that it turns the salty water of the Atlantic into brackish water – even 150km offshore.

The delta system created by the river does not have towns and people along the river in the same way as the Rhein, Yangzte, Mississippi, Ganges or the Nile, but the formation is similar. As such, you can see from the Amazon how these deltas can lead to big cities like Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Alexandria, New Orleans, and so on.

Approaching the Amazon river delta, you pass by a bigger island that has formed in the delta, named Ilha Cavanna de Fora. There you see a lot of cattle. How did they get there? Quite a long time ago a ship sank close by and the cattle swam ashore. They survived and liked the island, and so beautiful cattle with horns now live there.

Going further in on the river you pass great places like Macapa, Santarem, and Parintins, as well as other rivers going into the Amazon. My favourite is Rio Tapajas – a big river with many small sandy islands where you can spend the day, watching the river float by and swimming in the warm water.

Though not actually situated on the Amazon, you turn starboard into the river Negro and after 18km you reach Manaus.

The first settlement in Manaus was in 1669. The name of the city comes from an Indian river tribe called the Manaos; in 1939 the spelling was changed to Manaus. The city itself overlooks the river. In 1902 floating wharves were built to allow for the annual 12m rise and fall of the river. From 1890 to 1920 the rubber boom caused the city to develop and a now famous opera house was built in 1892 in this rainforest city. It is a great feeling to stand outside the opera house in this great inland port!

Today principal exports from Manaus are rubber, brazil nuts, rosewood and coffee. Many industries are represented here, including breweries, ship building, soap manufacturing, chemicals, and petroleum refining of oil transported from Peru.

This is the heart of the amazon rainforest. When you are almost in the centre of South America it is funny to look at the navigation chart. You think you can't possibly be that far inland on a big ship, but that is the thing with this inland port - you can!

Asia has tigers and Africa has lions, but if you want to see jaguars then you can see them in this truly special inland port of Manaus, Brazil!

Inland Ports: An Exclusive Online Series

Every time Ferryl News goes to print I will present a new port in this series, so check back regularly! I will cover ports from around the world.

If you have any comments or questions, get in touch - I would love to hear from you. Do you know an important inland port that you think I should write about? Let me know. You can get in touch through the Contact tab at the top of the page.