Colombia - Country Commercial Guide
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Since 2017, Colombia has increased its ranking in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), from 66th in 2017 to 84th in 2020. Colombia’s advancement in ranking reflects its recent improvements in infrastructure, stability, and institutional development; however, Colombia’s infrastructure is still underdeveloped compared to regional counterparts.

After the signing of the Peace Agreement between the Colombian Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016, infrastructure development became a priority for the administration of former presidents Santos (2010-2018) and Duque (2018-2022). In 2015, as the agreement with the FARC was negotiated, the Santos Administration established an infrastructure initiative to connect Colombia through multimodal transportation projects, commonly called the Intermodal Transportation Master Plan (PMTI). The initiative encompassed 100 road projects, 52 highway projects, five railway projects, eight fluvial projects, 31 airport projects, and various dredging projects. In 2016, the value established for this ambitious initiative was COP 10.4 trillion (USD 2.7 billion) equivalent to 1.3 percent of Colombia’s GDP. The Plan was divided into two programs: fourth-generation infrastructure projects (4G) and fifth-generation infrastructure projects (5G).

Former President Duque infrastructure’s legacy was to conclude those 4G projects from the prior administration and structure fifth-generation infrastructure projects (5G). 4G Infrastructure projects aimed to develop the country’s connectivity by connecting industrial regions with ports, it encompassed 29 road projects, 4,970 miles of dual carriageways, and restoration of 4,349 roads. When Ivan Duque assumed the presidency in 2018, 16 percent of 4G projects were completed. He concluded his term with 66 percent of 4G projects completed. His government completed 20 out of 29 road projects. The remaining are under development by the current Petro Administration. In Colombia, 4G projects are developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. According to Former Transport Minister Angela Maria Orozco, development projects for these highways were valued at USD 12 million.

On August 7th, 2022, Colombia elected Gustavo Petro as the first leftist president. The Petro Administration has shifted to more social, equality, and environmental policies in the country, including infrastructure and transportation policies that will benefit rural areas that have been neglected from development. Petro’s Administration is committed to improving connectivity access, multimodal transportation, fighting climate change, energy transition, and developing sustainable public policies. The infrastructure portfolio includes railway reactivation, airport renovation, and water projects.


In November 2020, the Duque Administration launched the Railway Master Plan for Colombia. It aimed to improve and develop cargo and passenger railway lines. The Plan set a goal to reduce 26 percent of the country’s logistics costs to improve productivity and reduce environmental pollution. The greater Bogota and Medellin areas plan to have railway developments in the coming years. Bogota aims to foster the Cundinamarca region by connecting the city and rural surrounding areas with metro lines and commuter trains. Similarly, Medellin is looking to increase the Antioquia Department’s competitiveness by connecting the city’s distribution centers to seaports.

Railway renovation is a priority for the Petro Administration as it was a high-profile campaign promise during the elections. Colombia’s railway network is only 37 percent active (2,195 miles). The Administration has plans to reactivate another 1,181 miles. The National Infrastructure Agency is working towards the reactivation of three corridors including: La Dorada- Chiriguana, Bogota- Belencito, and the Pacific corridor, the former two are operating while the Pacific corridor has remained inactive since 2017. To guarantee the development of existing corridors and develop new ones, the Petro Administration has included the projects on the National Development Plan, meaning the Colombian Government has allocated financing for 70 percent of the projects and local authorities will finance 30 percent. The Colombian Congress is also discussing a Railway Bill to increase financing. 

Bogota’s First line and the Medellin light rail were awarded to Chinese concessionaires. It is expected that Spanish, French, and Colombian companies will submit proposals for the development of Colombia’s second metro line.


In Colombia, airports are operated by the private sector through concession agreements of 10 to 25 years. The Petro Administration announced five airport renovation projects valued at USD 2.7 billion. The renovations are planned for two airports in Cartagena, San Andres, Cali, and Bogota.

On January 18, 2023, the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) opened the tender for the Rafael Nunez Airport renovation in Cartagena. Currently, ANI is reviewing three proposals for its expansion and operations over a period of 8.5 years with the project valued at USD 111 million. The project is scheduled to be awarded in November 2023.

ODINSA, a private Colombian company, has presented projects to the National Infrastructure Agency (ANI) to develop Cartagena’s International Airport. The project is in the feasibility stage. If ANI approves the project, ODINSA will develop an airport in Baunca (a neighborhood in Cartagena). It will have the capability for eight million passengers per year and will manage 35 flight operations per hour.

Bogota’s airport expansion initiative named IP EDMAX is the second largest private investment in the airport segment. The project is under feasibility studies and will be awarded in the second semester of 2024 with a project value of USD 1.5 billion. In addition, the government is structuring the renovation of the Gustavo Rojas Pinilla Airport in San Andres, Alfonso Bonilla in Cali and Benito Salas in Neiva.


ANI grants concessions for seaports for 20 to 25 years to private companies. Colombia has eight port areas located in the Pacific and Caribbean regions. ANI has provided concessions to 61 ports. Colombia’s seaports in Buenaventura and Barranquilla are losing competitiveness because the sediment rate is impacting port access. Through the development of water projects such as the navigability of the Magdalena River and the Dique Channel, the Barranquilla and Cartagena ports aim to increase their competitiveness by reducing the volume of the sediment.

Puerto Antioquia is the newest seaport development in the country. The port is in the Uraba Gulf region, close to the Panama border on the Caribbean coast. Puerto Antioquia will have the capability to handle 1.15 million cargo tons per year, 3 million tons of bulk cargo, and 60,000 automobiles. In addition, the port will be the main export route for bananas and fruits to the U.S. and European markets. Puerto Antioquia’s principal investors are local banana companies and French and Colombian businessmen. The port investment is USD 650 million and, it is expected that Puerto Antioquia will start operations by 2025.

Dredging Opportunities

In 2017, the Colombian Government established the National Dredging Plan in partnership with the Dutch Government. The objective was to develop a dredging maintenance strategy to foster Colombia’s ports. The Colombian Government, through the National Roads Institute (INVIAS), performs annual dredging operations at the port of Buenaventura, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Tumaco, Providencia, San Andres, and the Uraba Gulf. U.S. manufacturers of dredging equipment have provided some machines to the government to perform dredging works. Dredging operations are managed by INVIAS, which falls under Colombia’s Transportation Ministry, and therefore must be developed under a tender process.

The Canal del Dique is an environmental project to be develop in Bolivar and Atlantico Department at the Colombian Caribbean coast. The project aims to replicate the Panama Canal with the construction of dikes and dams to reduce sedimentation rates, prevent flooding and restore mangroves and swamps affected by sediments on the exiting channel. The project was awarded to the Spanish company SACYR in 2022 with a concession of 15 years and a project value of USD 721 million.

Residential Buildings

The residential construction subsector leads the construction sector in Colombia. The 28 construction companies, commonly referred to as “Constructoras”, dominate the residential housing sector.  From 2013 to 2020, this sector grew from 112,000 housing units sold to 176,000 housing units sold. The growing demand was linked to the Colombian Government’s subsidies for the construction of low-income houses and low mortgage rates. 

In 2023 the sector ceased growing, and low-income housing dropped 66 percent compared to 2022. The residential building deceleration is linked to local inflation and currency devaluation.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • Complex engineering projects and services related to mass transportation systems: seaports, dredging, tunnels, and bridges
  • Construction machine equipment
  • Intelligent transportation systems equipment and services
  • Road safety equipment and services (such as electronic toll collection)
  • Railway supplier
  • Architectural and engineering for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) framework


The U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CPTA) enables road and construction equipment to enter Colombia duty free. Services such as project management, bridge design, architecture, and engineering, among others, also enter Colombia duty free. Other advantages from the CTPA include stronger legal protections for U.S. companies, expanded access to the services market, market access for used goods, increased transparency in procurement, and improved dispute settlement mechanisms. Under the National Treatment Caveat, Chapter Nine of the CTPA, U.S. companies are to be treated as local companies when they participate in public bids, eliminating the disadvantage they used to face before the CTPA. The one exception is public bids issued by the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority (AeroCivil). Since opportunities in road construction, airport expansion, and port expansion are offered through concessions and contracts governed by Colombia’s PPP legal framework, U.S. firms interested in offering services to construction companies in Colombia should understand how the PPP structure works. U.S. firms are advised to find a local representative who can support them in-country or explore the possibility of a joint venture for infrastructure projects.

Trade Events

XVII ExpoConstruccion Expodiseno2023

Construction and design fair

May 30-June 4, 2023

Bogota- Colombia


V Railway Seminar- Antioquia’s Engineering Society

Railway Seminar

June 21- 23, 2023

Medellin, Antioquia- Colombia


National Infrastructure Congress

Colombia’s Infrastructure Chamber- CCI

November 22-23-24, 2023
Cartagena, Colombia.



American Ports Association – Latam Convention

December 4- 6, 2023.

Barranquilla, Colombia

Key Contacts

Colombia’s National Infrastructure Agency  

Colombian Chamber of Infrastructure

Colombian Society of Engineers

Camacol-Colombian Construction Chamber

Camacol Antioquia’s – Regional Construction Chamber



For additional information, including market analysis, trade events, and the assistance the U.S. Commercial Service can provide to help you succeed in the Colombian market, please contact:

U.S. Embassy Bogota

Stephanie Delgado Vera
Construction, and Infrastructure Commercial Specialist

+57 (313) 636-6772