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Transport in Yemen: Wikis


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As a direct consequence of the country’s poverty, Yemen compares unfavorably with its Middle Eastern neighbors in terms of transportation infrastructure and communications network. Roads are generally poor, although several projects are planned to upgrade the system. There is no rail network, efforts to upgrade airport facilities have languished, and telephone and Internet usage and capabilities are limited. The Port of Aden has shown a promising recovery from a 2002 attack; container throughput increased significantly in 2004 and 2005. However, the expected imposition of higher insurance premiums for shippers in 2006 may result in reduced future throughput. The announcement in summer 2005 that the port’s main facility, Aden Container Terminal, would for the next 30 or more years be run by Dubai Ports International brings with it the prospect of future expansion.[1]



Relative to Yemen’s size, the road transportation system is very limited. Yemen has 71,300 kilometers of roads, only 6,200 kilometers of which are paved. In the north, roads connecting Sanaa, Taizz, and Al Hudaydah are good, as are intercity bus services. In the south, roads are generally poor and in need of repair, except for the Aden–Taizz road. In November 2005, the World Bank approved a US$40 million project to upgrade approximately 200 kilometers of intermediate rural roads and approximately 75 kilometers of village access roads as part of a larger effort to strengthen Yemen’s capability for rural road planning and engineering. Plans are underway to build an estimated US$1.6 billion highway linking Aden in the south and Amran in the north. The road will include more than 10 tunnels and halve the travel time between the southern seacoast and the northern border with Saudi Arabia.[1]

Travel by road in Yemen is often unsafe. Within cities, minivans and small buses ply somewhat regular routes, picking up and dropping off passengers with little notice or regard for other vehicles. Taxis and public transportation are widely available but the vehicles may lack safety standards and equipment. Despite the presence of traffic lights and traffic policemen, the US Embassy advises drivers to exercise extreme caution, especially at intersections. While traffic laws exist, they are often not enforced, and/or not adhered to by motorists. Drivers sometimes drive on the left side of the road, although right-hand driving is specified by Yemeni law. No laws mandate the use of seat belts or car seats for children. The maximum speed for private cars is 100 kilometers per hour (62.5 miles per hour), but speed limits are rarely enforced. A large number of under-age drivers are on the roads. Many vehicles are in poor repair and lack basic parts such as functional turn signals, headlights and taillights. Pedestrians, especially children, and animals on the roads constitute a hazard in both rural and urban areas. Beyond the main inter-city roads, which are usually paved and in fair condition, the rural roads in general require four-wheel-drive vehicles or vehicles with high clearance.[2]


Yemen has no rail network, but in 2007 the government, in coordination with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, will fund a study to examine the feasibility of establishing a rail network. The study will focus on establishing a 2,000-kilometer coastal line, a 1,000-kilometer line linking the key energy centers in the interior, and a 600-kilometer line to parallel the proposed north-south highway.[1]

Ports and merchant marine

Yemen’s main ports are Aden, Al Hudaydah, Al Mukalla, and Mocha; Aden is the primary port. In addition, Ras Isa serves as the loading point for oil exports, and a small amount of cargo passes through Nishtun.[1]

Facilities at Aden consist of the Maalla Terminal and the Aden Container Terminal (ACT), which opened in March 1999. The port can handle ro-ro ships, container ships, cargo ships, as well as tankers. In November 2003, following the October 2002 bombing of the French supertanker Limburg off the Yemen coast and the resultant dramatic drop in throughput at the Aden port, the Port of Singapore Authority sold its majority stake in the ACT back to the Yemeni government. In June 2005, Dubai Ports International was selected to manage and operate the ACT (and possibly Maalla Terminal) under a 30-year or longer contract; the Yemeni government will remain a minority shareholder. The Port of Aden has recovered well from the 2002 bombing. In 2004 it had annual traffic of approximately 2,000 vessels and 318,901 twenty-foot-equivalent units of containers, mostly handled by the ACT. For 2005, the port handled 317,897 twenty-foot-equivalent units of containers, more than double the amount for 2003. For the first seven months of 2006, the port handled 207, 687 twenty-foot-equivalent units of containers. However, in May 2006 the London insurance market’s Joint War Committee placed Yemen on its list of “areas of perceived enhanced risk,” which is expected to add a war-risk insurance premium to ships operating in the country’s coastal waters. This added premium, coupled with the availability of more secure ports in neighboring countries, will likely result in reduced throughput in Yemen’s ports in the near future.[1]

There are 3 ships (1,000 gross register tons (GRT) or over) totaling 12,059 GRT/18,563 metric tons deadweight (DWT) (one cargo ship and 2 petroleum tankers) (1999 est.).[1]

Inland Waterways

Yemen has no waterways of any significant length.[1]

Civil Aviation and Airports

Yemen has 46 airports, 16 of which have paved runways. Of the 46 airports, five are internationalAden International, Sanaa International, Taizz, Rayyan, and Al Hudaydah. A major reconstruction and expansion of Aden International was completed in 2001, including a new runway that can handle large, long-haul aircraft. Plans to make that airport a regional cargo hub, with an “air cargo village,” by 2004 appear to have failed. Although construction began in January 2003, by year’s end the managing company had dissolved, and there has been no further progress on this project.[1]

Yemenia is the national airline; it absorbed the former national carrier of South Yemen in 1996. It is expected that Yemenia, which is currently 49 percent owned by the Saudi Arabian government and 51 percent owned by the Yemen government, will eventually be privatized, but there has been resistance from the Saudis. In 2001 the airline carried 858,000 passengers. Because the airline’s existing fleet of 12 airplanes is rapidly becoming outdated, in 2002 three new aircraft were leased for eight years, and in early 2006 the airline announced plans to acquire six new aircraft, with options for an additional four, beginning in 2012.[1]


Airports - with paved runways

total: 13
10,000 ft (3,048 m) and over: 2
8,000 to 9,999 ft (2,438 to 3,047 m): 8
5,000 to 7,000 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 1
3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 1
under 3,000 ft (914 m): 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 37
10,000 ft (3,048 m) and over: 2
8,000 to 9,999 ft (2,438 to 3,047 m): 9
5,000 to 7,000 ft (1,524 to 2,437 m): 8
3,000 to 4,999 ft (914 to 1,523 m): 13
under 3,000 ft (914 m): 5 (1999 est.)


According to the U.S. government, as of 2004 Yemen had a total of 1,262 kilometers of pipeline. This total includes pipeline designed for gas (88 kilometers) and oil (1,174 kilometers).[1]

oil 1650 km
gas 850 km
petroleum products: 32 km

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Yemen country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (December 2006). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ Yemen country specific information. US Department of State (April 22, 2009). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.


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