The continent of North America lies fully to the north of the equator and is surrounded by water on all sides except for the narrow connection with South America through the Isthmus of Panama. The offshore Canadian Arctic islands, Greenland, and the Caribbean islands are also usually grouped with North America. North America is the third-largest continent (16.5 percent of the earth’s land) and has the fourth-largest population (565 million).
The North American nation of the United States has the biggest economy in the world with a per capita GDP of about $55,000. Canada is not far behind at $45,000 and has the eleventh highest worldwide. Mexico is number 15 in total GDP, though its per capita is only $16,000. Mexico is, however, still above the world average and has not been as long industrialized.
The U.S. has the largest road system in the world- over 4 million miles long. Over 275,000 miles of this is Interstate or U.S. Highway. Canada and Mexico also have extensive road networks, and the major cities of the continent are well-connected. The Pan-American Highway joins together Central America and connects it to Mexico, but the “Darien Gap” leaves North America still disconnected from South America.
North America’s railroads crisscross the continent and inter-connect all the major cities. The system stretches from Canada’s Northwest Territories down to the Tapachula, Mexico. Central America is connected by rail as well, but it uses narrow instead of standard gauge tracks, creating a de facto cut off point.
The Panama Canal allows cargo to pass between the west-coast and east-coast ports of the continent and facilitates world trade. New York City has one of the deepest natural harbors in the world, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal open up trade as far inland as Duluth, and numerous other ports dot North America’s shores. A major grain “port” also stretches for 50 miles between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, letting the vast produce of the northern plains escape into the Gulf of Mexico from where it is disbursed all over the planet.
Nine out of 10 of North America’s busiest airports lie within the United States, the final one being in Toronto, Canada. The busiest airport in Mexico is Benito Juárez International in Mexico City. JFK in New York City takes more international flights than any other airport on the continent. The major cities of North America are as well connected by air as by land and sea.
If you are shipping freight to or from North America, contact one of our agents to discuss how to optimize all aspects of the shipping process. We excel at arranging a logistically-sound transit plan, and we are always ready to assist each customer in getting their goods to the right place at the right time and for the lowest possible cost.
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