Despite the efforts made by the republican government, the road network is still very poorly developed. The carriage roads (in 1931, 14,392 km.) Are still the main means of communication, but they are far from being equally distributed; most of them are concentrated in northern Portugal and in the area behind Lisbon.
The average of the country is 15.1 km. on 100 sq. km. and is included between that of Spain (13.4) and that of Romania (27.4). The considerable improvement that has occurred in the carriage roads in recent years has brought with it a considerable development of car traffic. The railway network is also insufficiently developed; there are a total of 3465 km. of railways, of which 751 km. narrow gauge. The greatest development of railways occurs, as has already been noted for carriage roads, in northern and central Portugal; Portugal has an average of 3.8 km. of railway track on 100 sq. km. For Portugal travel information, please check zipcodesexplorer.com.
Communications by sea are of great importance, both because Portugal on 2046 km. of perimeter counts 832 km. of maritime border, and because, given its geographical position at the south-western end of Europe, it is a state of the utmost importance for its connections with America and Africa. In 1932 10,609 boats entered the Portuguese ports carrying a load of more than 25,686,409 tons. In 1932 the number of passengers who embarked was 74,162 and that of passengers disembarked 91,073; the number of transit passengers was 284,675. The ports through which trade is most actively carried out are the port of Lisbon, which alone accounts for more than half of Portugal’s maritime activity, and that of Oporto; then come the port of Setúbal, Vila Rial de Santo António and Faro. The large port on the Tagus is the starting point of numerous shipping lines to Madeira, the Azores, America (Brazil and Argentina), Angola, etc., while at the same time it is the port of call for the great lines of Bordeaux, Le Havre, Southampton, Liverpool, Bremen, Hamburg. In 1932 the number of ships entering the port of Lisbon amounted to 2540 for a tonnage of 11,917,896 tons and the number of ships out to 2421, with a tonnage of 11,860,590 tons; in Oporto instead the number of ships entered in 1932 amounted to 893 for a tonnage of 902.746 tons. and the number of ships out at 859 for a tonnage of 983.917 tons. A notable difference exists between the port of Lisbon and that of Oporto: the former has greater importance for the movement of passengers, the latter for the movement of goods. Both ports also have a greater importance for import than for export; this is due to the fact that even the smaller ports are dedicated to exports. For example, all the ports of the Algarve and Alemtejo serve for the export of preserved fish and cork.
River navigation is of little importance, hampered in northern Portugal by the steep slope and impetuosity of the waterways, in southern Portugal by the insufficient flow of the rivers. Altogether Portugal has 950 km. of navigable rivers, ie 1.1 km. on 100 sq. km., used for the transport of wood, wheat and wine; passenger transport is missing completely.
Merchant marine. – In 1900 the Portuguese navy consisted of 109 thousand tons. gross, in 1913 from 120,579. At the beginning of the World War a notable share of German shipping (72 units, for 243,000 gross tons) was located in Portuguese ports; it was seized by the government immediately after the entry into the war and entrusted for management to a state company, Trasportes Maritimos do Estado, which was liquidated in 1923. By virtue of the new acquisitions, the country emerged from the world conflict with tonnes. 261.212 (1919); this fleet was kept in the same proportions, in general, up to 30 June 1934, with 266,481 tons, of which 237,908 of steamships, 4968 of motor ships, 23,605 of sailing ships. The largest ship in this fleet is the Amarante, of 7896 tons. gross. The largest shipping company is the Companhia nacional de navegação, with 78 thousand tons. of ships, for goods and passengers; follows the Companhia colonial de navegação, with 60,180 tons; there are other less important armaments.
After the war, Portugal tried to establish itself in world trade: a highly discriminatory law of 1922, amended in 1928 and 1929, granted goods shipped under the Portuguese flag a 10% return on customs duties; to those disembarked from Portuguese ships a 20% rebate; these measures were repealed in 1934.
Tax exemptions, subsidies, navigation bonuses were also granted, and finally (1926-27) shipbuilding loans, repayable in 20 years, at 6% interest. Cabotage is reserved for the flag.
Civil aviation. – Portuguese civil aviation is so far underdeveloped. In 1930 a French company acquired the monopoly of civil aviation in Portugal, but it lasted only until October 1933. Commercial aviation exists little more than nominally, with the Companhia Portugueza de Aviação, which has the exclusivity of air services for Portugal and the colonies, but whose activity is very limited. The Sociedad Portugueza de Levantamentos Aereos carries out photographic surveys with a specially equipped monoplane. Control of civil and commercial aviation is exercised by the Conselho nacional do Ar, which reports to the presidency of the council of ministers; it was created by decree of. 1929 and possesses a technical secretariat. The official technical and research facility is the Officina geral de material aeronautico, located in the only civil airport of Alverca. A certain activity carries out the Portuguese Aero-club, chaired by the commander of the military aviation. It is affiliated with the FAI and trains civil pilots in one of its pilots in Granja lo Marquez (Cintra).
Colonies. – Portugal is one of the great colonial powers in the world. The Portuguese colonies cover an area of 2,079,576 sq km. and a population of 8,245,163 residents In Africa Portugal has: Angola or Portuguese West Africa, Mozambique or Portuguese East Africa, Portuguese Guinea in addition to the islands of Cape Verde, São Thomé and Principe, and in Asia Diu, Damão, Goa, Macao and the part east of the island of Timor.
The colonies of Africa and Asia, which are undoubtedly the most important, however, represent difficult to exploit countries due to soil, climate and population conditions, and Portugal also lacks the means to enhance them. Therefore many of the commercial initiatives of the colonies are in the hands of foreigners and especially of the English. Portugal then, in addition to the colonies of Africa, Asia and Oceania, has the archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, which are not considered as real colonies, but as territories adjacent to the motherland.