Field Listing

Waterways

This entry gives the total length of navigable rivers, canals, and other inland bodies of water.

Country Comparison Ranking

  • Afghanistan

    1,200 km (chiefly Amu Darya, which handles vessels up to 500 DWT) (2011)

  • Albania

    41 km (on the Bojana River) (2011)

  • Angola

    1,300 km (2011)

  • Argentina

    11,000 km (2012)

  • Australia

    2,000 km (mainly used for recreation on Murray and Murray-Darling River systems) (2011)

  • Austria

    358 km (2011)

  • Bangladesh

    8,370 km (includes up to 3,060 km of main cargo routes; network reduced to 5,200 km in the dry season) (2011)

  • Belarus

    2,500 km (major rivers are the west-flowing Western Dvina and Neman Rivers and the south-flowing Dnepr River and its tributaries, the Berezina, Sozh, and Pripyat Rivers) (2011)

  • Belgium

    2,043 km (1,528 km in regular commercial use) (2012)

  • Belize

    825 km (navigable only by small craft) (2011)

  • Benin

    150 km (seasonal navigation on River Niger along northern border) (2011)

  • Bolivia

    10,000 km (commercially navigable almost exclusively in the northern and eastern parts of the country) (2012)

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina

    (Sava River on northern border; open to shipping but use limited) (2011)

  • Brazil

    50,000 km (most in areas remote from industry and population) (2012)

  • Brunei

    209 km (navigable by craft drawing less than 1.2 m; the Belait, Brunei, and Tutong Rivers are major transport links) (2012)

  • Bulgaria

    470 km (2009)

  • Burma

    12,800 km (2011)

  • Burundi

    (mainly on Lake Tanganyika between Bujumbura, Burundi's principal port, and lake ports in Tanzania, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) (2011)

  • Cambodia

    3,700 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2012)

  • Cameroon

    (major rivers in the south, such as the Wouri and the Sanaga, are largely non-navigable; in the north, the Benue, which connects through Nigeria to the Niger River, is navigable in the rainy season only to the port of Garoua) (2010)

  • Canada

    636 km (Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, shared with United States) (2011)

  • Central African Republic

    2,800 km (the primary navigable river is the Ubangi, which joins the River Congo; it was the traditional route for the export of products because it connected with the Congo-Ocean railway at Brazzaville; because of the warfare on both sides of the River Congo from 1997, importers and exporters preferred routes through Cameroon) (2011)

  • Chad

    (Chari and Legone Rivers are navigable only in wet season) (2012)

  • China

    110,000 km (navigable waterways) (2011)

  • Colombia

    24,725 km (18,300 km navigable; the most important waterway, the River Magdalena, of which 1,488 km is navigable, is dredged regularly to ensure safe passage of cargo vessels and container barges) (2012)

  • Congo, Democratic Republic of the

    15,000 km (including the Congo River, its tributaries, and unconnected lakes) (2011)

  • Congo, Republic of the

    1,120 km (commercially navigable on Congo and Oubanqui Rivers above Brazzaville; there are many ferries across the river to Kinshasa; the Congo south of Brazzaville-Kinshasa to the coast is not navigable because of rapids, necessitating a rail connection to Pointe Noire; other rivers are used for local traffic only) (2011)

  • Costa Rica

    730 km (seasonally navigable by small craft) (2011)

  • Cote d'Ivoire

    980 km (navigable rivers, canals, and numerous coastal lagoons) (2011)

  • Croatia

    785 km (2009)

  • Cuba

    240 km (almost all navigable inland waterways are near the mouths of rivers) (2011)

  • Czechia

    664 km (principally on Elbe, Vltava, Oder, and other navigable rivers, lakes, and canals) (2010)

  • Denmark

    400 km (2010)

  • Ecuador

    1,500 km (most inaccessible) (2012)

  • Egypt

    3,500 km (includes the Nile River, Lake Nasser, Alexandria-Cairo Waterway, and numerous smaller canals in Nile Delta; the Suez Canal (193.5 km including approaches) is navigable by oceangoing vessels drawing up to 17.68 m) (2011)

  • El Salvador

    (Rio Lempa River is partially navigable by small craft) (2011)

  • Estonia

    335 km (320 km are navigable year-round) (2011)

  • European Union

    53,384 km (2013)

  • Fiji

    203 km (122 km are navigable by motorized craft and 200-metric-ton barges) (2012)

  • Finland

    8,000 km (includes Saimaa Canal system of 3,577 km; southern part leased from Russia; water transport used frequently in the summer and widely replaced with sledges on the ice in winter; there are 187,888 lakes in Finland that cover 31,500 km); Finland also maintains 8,200 km of coastal fairways (2013)

  • France

    metropolitan France: 8,501 km (1,621 km navigable by craft up to 3,000 metric tons) (2010)

  • Gabon

    1,600 km (310 km on Ogooue River) (2010)

  • Gambia, The

    390 km (on River Gambia; small oceangoing vessels can reach 190 km) (2010)

  • Germany

    7,467 km (Rhine River carries most goods; Main-Danube Canal links North Sea and Black Sea) (2012)

  • Ghana

    1,293 km (168 km for launches and lighters on Volta, Ankobra, and Tano Rivers; 1,125 km of arterial and feeder waterways on Lake Volta) (2011)

  • Greece

    6 km (the 6-km-long Corinth Canal crosses the Isthmus of Corinth; it shortens a sea voyage by 325 km) (2012)

  • Guatemala

    990 km (260 km navigable year round; additional 730 km navigable during high-water season) (2012)

  • Guinea

    1,300 km (navigable by shallow-draft native craft in the northern part of the Niger River system) (2011)

  • Guinea-Bissau

    (rivers are partially navigable; many inlets and creeks provide shallow-water access to much of interior) (2012)

  • Guyana

    330 km (the Berbice, Demerara, and Essequibo Rivers are navigable by oceangoing vessels for 150 km, 100 km, and 80 km respectively) (2012)

  • Honduras

    465 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2012)

  • Hungary

    1,622 km (most on Danube River) (2011)

  • India

    14,500 km (5,200 km on major rivers and 485 km on canals suitable for mechanized vessels) (2012)

  • Indonesia

    21,579 km (2011)

  • Iran

    850 km (on Karun River; some navigation on Lake Urmia) (2012)

  • Iraq

    5,279 km (the Euphrates River (2,815 km), Tigris River (1,899 km), and Third River (565 km) are the principal waterways) (2012)

  • Ireland

    956 km (pleasure craft only) (2010)

  • Italy

    2,400 km (used for commercial traffic; of limited overall value compared to road and rail) (2012)

  • Japan

    1,770 km (seagoing vessels use inland seas) (2010)

  • Kazakhstan

    4,000 km (on the Ertis (Irtysh) River (80%) and Syr Darya (Syrdariya) River) (2010)

  • Kenya

    none specifically; the only significant inland waterway is the part of Lake Victoria within the boundaries of Kenya; Kisumu is the main port and has ferry connections to Uganda and Tanzania (2011)

  • Kiribati

    5 km (small network of canals in Line Islands) (2012)

  • Korea, North

    2,250 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)

  • Korea, South

    1,600 km (most navigable only by small craft) (2011)

  • Kyrgyzstan

    600 km (2010)

  • Laos

    4,600 km (primarily on the Mekong River and its tributaries; 2,900 additional km are intermittently navigable by craft drawing less than 0.5 m) (2012)

  • Latvia

    300 km (navigable year-round) (2010)

  • Liechtenstein

    28 km (2010)

  • Lithuania

    441 km (navigable year-round) (2007)

  • Luxembourg

    37 km (on Moselle River) (2010)

  • Madagascar

    600 km (432 km navigable) (2011)

  • Malawi

    700 km (on Lake Nyasa [Lake Malawi] and Shire River) (2010)

  • Malaysia

    7,200 km (Peninsular Malaysia 3,200 km; Sabah 1,500 km; Sarawak 2,500 km) (2011)

  • Mali

    1,800 km (downstream of Koulikoro; low water levels on the River Niger cause problems in dry years; in the months before the rainy season the river is not navigable by commercial vessels) (2011)

  • Mauritania

    (some navigation possible on the Senegal River) (2011)

  • Mexico

    2,900 km (navigable rivers and coastal canals mostly connected with ports on the country's east coast) (2012)

  • Moldova

    558 km (in public use on Danube, Dniester and Prut Rivers) (2011)

  • Mongolia

    580 km (the only waterway in operation is Lake Hovsgol) (135 km); Selenge River (270 km) and Orhon River (175 km) are navigable but carry little traffic; lakes and rivers ice free from May to September) (2010)

  • Mozambique

    460 km (Zambezi River navigable to Tete and along Cahora Bassa Lake) (2010)

  • Netherlands

    6,237 km (navigable by ships up to 50 tons) (2012)

  • Nicaragua

    2,220 km (navigable waterways as well as the use of the large Lake Managua and Lake Nicaragua; rivers serve only the sparsely populated eastern part of the country) (2011)

  • Niger

    300 km (the Niger, the only major river, is navigable to Gaya between September and March) (2012)

  • Nigeria

    8,600 km (Niger and Benue Rivers and smaller rivers and creeks) (2011)

  • Norway

    1,577 km (2010)

  • Panama

    800 km (includes the 82-km Panama Canal that is being widened) (2011)

  • Papua New Guinea

    11,000 km (2011)

  • Paraguay

    3,100 km (primarily on the Paraguay and ParanĂ¡ River systems) (2012)

  • Peru

    8,808 km (8,600 km of navigable tributaries on the Amazon River system and 208 km on Lago Titicaca) (2011)

  • Philippines

    3,219 km (limited to vessels with draft less than 1.5 m) (2011)

  • Poland

    3,997 km (navigable rivers and canals) (2009)

  • Portugal

    210 km (on Douro River from Porto) (2011)

  • Romania

    1,731 km (includes 1,075 km on the Danube River, 524 km on secondary branches, and 132 km on canals) (2010)

  • Russia

    102,000 km (including 48,000 km with guaranteed depth; the 72,000-km system in European Russia links Baltic Sea, White Sea, Caspian Sea, Sea of Azov, and Black Sea) (2009)

  • Rwanda

    (Lac Kivu navigable by shallow-draft barges and native craft) (2011)

  • Senegal

    1,000 km (primarily on the Senegal, Saloum, and Casamance Rivers) (2012)

  • Serbia

    587 km (primarily on the Danube and Sava Rivers) (2009)

  • Sierra Leone

    800 km (600 km navigable year-round) (2011)

  • Slovakia

    172 km (on Danube River) (2012)

  • Slovenia

    (some transport on the Drava River) (2012)

  • South Sudan

    see entry for Sudan

  • Spain

    1,000 km (2012)

  • Sri Lanka

    160 km (primarily on rivers in southwest) (2012)

  • Sudan

    4,068 km (1,723 km open year-round on White and Blue Nile Rivers) (2011)

  • Suriname

    1,200 km (most navigable by ships with drafts up to 7 m) (2011)

  • Sweden

    2,052 km (2010)

  • Switzerland

    1,292 km (there are 1,227 km of waterways on lakes and rivers for public transport and 65 km on the Rhine River between Basel-Rheinfelden and Schaffhausen-Bodensee for commercial goods transport) (2010)

  • Syria

    900 km (navigable but not economically significant) (2011)

  • Tajikistan

    200 km (along Vakhsh River) (2011)

  • Tanzania

    (Lake Tanganyika, Lake Victoria, and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) are the principal avenues of commerce with neighboring countries; the rivers are not navigable) (2011)

  • Thailand

    4,000 km (3,701 km navigable by boats with drafts up to 0.9 m) (2011)

  • Togo

    50 km (seasonally navigable by small craft on the Mono River depending on rainfall) (2011)

  • Turkey

    1,200 km (2010)

  • Turkmenistan

    1,300 km (Amu Darya River and Kara Kum Canal are important inland waterways) (2011)

  • Uganda

    (there are no long navigable stretches of river in Uganda; parts of the Albert Nile that flow out of Lake Albert in the northwestern part of the country are navigable; several lakes including Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga have substantial traffic; Lake Albert is navigable along a 200-km stretch from its northern tip to its southern shores) (2011)

  • Ukraine

    1,672 km (most on Dnieper River) (2012)

  • United Kingdom

    3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2009)

  • United States

    41,009 km (19,312 km used for commerce; Saint Lawrence Seaway of 3,769 km, including the Saint Lawrence River of 3,058 km, is shared with Canada) (2012)

  • Uruguay

    1,600 km (2011)

  • Uzbekistan

    1,100 km (2012)

  • Venezuela

    7,100 km (Orinoco River (400 km) and Lake de Maracaibo navigable by oceangoing vessels) (2011)

  • Vietnam

    47,130 km (30,831 km weight under 50 tons) (2011)

  • World

    2,293,412 km (2017)

    top ten longest rivers: Nile (Africa) 6,693 km; Amazon (South America) 6,436 km; Mississippi-Missouri (North America) 6,238 km; Yenisey-Angara (Asia) 5,981 km; Ob-Irtysh (Asia) 5,569 km; Yangtze (Asia) 5,525 km; Yellow (Asia) 4,671 km; Amur (Asia) 4,352 km; Lena (Asia) 4,345 km; Congo (Africa) 4,344 km

    note: rivers are not necessarily navigable along the entire length; if measured by volume, the Amazon is the largest river in the world, responsible for about 20% of the Earth's freshwater entering the ocean

    top ten largest natural lakes (by surface area): Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan) 372,960 sq km; Lake Superior (Canada, United States) 82,414 sq km; Lake Victoria (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) 69,490 sq km; Lake Huron (Canada, United States) 59,596 sq km; Lake Michigan (United States) 57,441 sq km; Lake Tanganyika (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia) 32,890 sq km; Great Bear Lake (Canada) 31,800 sq km; Lake Baikal (Russia) 31,494 sq km; Lake Nyasa (Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania) 30,044 sq km; Great Slave Lake (Canada) 28,400 sq km

    note 1: the areas of the lakes are subject to seasonal variation; only the Caspian Sea is saline, the rest are fresh water

    note 2: Lakes Huron and Michigan are technically a single lake because the flow of water between the Straits of Mackinac that connects the two lakes keeps their water levels at near-equilibrium; combined, Lake Huron-Michigan is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world

    note 3: the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m), and also the largest freshwater lake by volume (23,600 cu km), is Lake Baikal in Russia.

  • Zambia

    2,250 km (includes Lake Tanganyika and the Zambezi and Luapula Rivers) (2010)

  • Zimbabwe

    (some navigation possible on Lake Kariba) (2011)