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Haiti Infrastructure

International and national resources provide the funding needed to improve the infrastructure and transportation problems in Haiti. The 2010 earthquake damaged most of the country’s infrastructure, as well as a number of other more recent natural disasters. The investment provided will help build new infrastructure to cater to the demands of the economy as well as tourism.

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Roads

Road transport is the primary mode of transportation for passengers while serving as the main route of trade with the Dominican Republic. Haiti’s national road network is 3,608 km long and made up of 950 km of primary roads that connect major cities, while secondary roads are 1,315 km long and tertiary/rural roads are 1,343 km long. Over 700 km of new roads have been built since the beginning of the Martelly administration. This new development has provided better access among major towns and cities through a more efficient paved network.

Existing road networks will also be improved through major current initiatives. The RN1 provides access between Port-au-Prince and the second largest city in Haiti, Cap-Haïtien. The complete upgrading of RN1 is expected to finish by 2018. Another major investment for the development of RN7 is also underway. Additionally, the Haitian government is also prioritizing road maintenance capacity of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport, Energy, and Communications.

Port-au-Prince is home to major car rental services including Avis, Hertz, Dollar, Budget, and Secom. Hiring a private taxi and using other forms of public transportation is not recommended, in fact members of the US Embassy in Haiti are prohibited from availing of these services. Tourists and other visitors are better off hiring a private driver for transportation on the ground.

Only a few Haitians own or can access a personal vehicle. Most Haitians walk to get to their destination; or bike or hitch a ride on “tap taps” which are the local version of taxi cabs although some buses also operate as a tap tap. Haitian buses are painted with bright colors and decorated with artwork and even graffiti. “Tap tap” gets its name from the passengers who use coins to tap the side of the vehicle to let the driver know that they have arrived at their destination. A tap tap can hold 20 to 30 people although they are generally crowded since this is the primary method of transportation for a majority of the locals. Pickup trucks are also a popular choice for tap tap; they are built with benches inside and a canopy on top. In some cases a motorcycle can also serve as a tap tap although it tends to be more expensive but it’s a quicker and more efficient way of getting around.

In rural areas especially, donkeys are used to deliver goods to markets or neighboring villages. Just like in other countries, in Haiti it is also common to rely on livestock to transport cargo. Donkeys have always been valuable for Haitians, as well as mules and other animals.

Airports

Air transport is usually coordinated through Port-au-Prince; from where flights fto most other provinces is possible. The main international airport is Toussaint Louverture International Airport (TLIA), located in Port-au-Prince. TLIA serves international routes to four cities in the United States: New York, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami; as well as Panama City, Canada, and Paris through the Dominican Republic and Guadalupe. Around 20 airlines currently operate in TLIA, also offering access to a wide network of flights to many cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. There is a total of more than 230 international flights covering 16 cities each month.

TLIA has a Class II classification, which enables large transport aircraft to operate. It now serves over 1 million passengers every year. Airport facilities in the capital are being renovated; aside from a new arrivals terminal which has been taken on since 2013, there is also a master plan being developed with the intention of upgrading facilities in TLIA to cater to an increase in passengers.

Seaports

The major international seaports in Haiti are found in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien. The seaport in Port-au-Prince serves as the main port catering to freight and container traffic; warehouses and special docks have been built. The Port-au-Prince seaport moves almost a million tons of cargo each year. An international company is investing US $69 million to renovate one of the main docks as well as installing a new wharf.

Recently, there has been a decision to upgrade Cap-Haïtien’s seaport which will eventually give the northern coast a better port to cater to the various manufacturing facilities in the Caracol Industrial Park. Currently, most of the Cap-Haïtien cargo is shipped from ports of the Domincan Republic.

The newest feature of Haiti’s seaport infrastructure is the addition of Port Lafito, a privately-owned port which began operations in 2015. Port Lafito is a subsidiary of GB Group while management is done by SSA Marine. It serves as a greenfield multipurpose port equipped with terminal handling and loose-bulk cargo facilities. Many international shipping companies including Maersk Sealand, Antillean Marine, Seabord Marine and others serve Haiti. DHL, FedEx, UPS, and other air cargo carriers are also operational in Haiti.

Electricity

Haiti needs improvement and investment to upgrade electricity serving the public and private sectors, especially renewable energy. The country suffers from insufficient electricity capacity, with just 313 MW and only 60% of which is stable. The energy demand in Haiti is projected at around 500 MW all throughout. The country also lacks a national grid; electricity is provided by Haiti Electricity which is Haiti’s national electricity company, as well as private producers on 9 grids found throughout. Caracol generates its own electricity while Haiti’s free trade zones also have the capability to self-generate. Most of the energy is generated by diesel or heavy fuel oil, but there is significant potential for renewable wind, solar, hydro, and biomass power.

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