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Patterns of Economic Development

Transportation

Europe has highly developed transportation systems, which are densest in the central part of the continent. Scandinavia, European Russia, and southern Europe have fewer transport facilities. Large numbers of passenger cars are owned in Europe, and much freight is transported by truck. Rail networks are well maintained in most European countries and are important carriers of passengers as well as freight. Water transport plays a major role in the European economy. Several countries, such as Greece, Britain, Italy, France, Norway, and Russia, maintain large fleets of merchant ships. Rotterdam, in The Netherlands, is one of the world’s busiest seaports. Other major ports include Antwerp, Belgium; Marseille, France; Hamburg; London; Genoa, Italy; Gdansk, Poland; Bilbao, Spain; and Goteborg, Sweden. Much freight is carried on inland waterways; European rivers with substantial traffic include the Rhine, Schelde (Escaut), Seine, Elbe, Danube, Volga, and Dnieper. In addition, Europe has a number of important canals. Almost all European countries maintain national airlines, and several, such as Air France, British Airways, and KLM (Netherlands), are major worldwide carriers. Most transportation systems in European countries are government controlled. Since World War II a large number of pipelines have been built in Europe to transport petroleum and natural gas.

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