We might take our rivers, lakes and seas for granted, but they are an essential part of the global transportation network of numerous countries, companies and philanthropic organizations. It is not only in the 21st century that we make extensive use of our water ways.

History

The use of rivers, lakes and oceans as a means of getting people and products from A to B has been the standard for many, many centuries. Take a look at the ancient Aztec civilization. Their entire “road network” was based on canoes and small streams in their capital Tenochtitlan, also known as the Venice of the New World. Another great example is how the ancient Kingdom of Egypt transported most of their goods through the Nile river. Not to mention the dawn of civilization in the fertile crescent between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

Today

Fast forward to today, and we still see an incredible amount of people, but predominantly cargo, being shipped from one place on the globe to another. Shipping in the literal sense! An enormous amount of containers full of pieces and parts, products meant for whole sale and for retail and also raw materials like oil, grain, etc. are being lifted onto cargo ships by means of offshore cranes and harbor cranes.

Importance of access to the sea

The vast importance of having access to rivers and open waters is poorly understood by people in general. Whenever we take a look at a wealthy country with a prosperous economy we can see clearly that they tend to have direct access to rivers and/or the sea. The opposite of such countries with easy access to water ways are so called land locked countries. These are countries that are completely surrounded by other countries and have no border with lakes or seas. Land locked countries tend to be on the bottom of most lists regarding wealth and economic development. Some examples of land locked countries are Mongolia, Afghanistan, Swaziland, Belarus, Paraguay and Nepal.