In 1904, exclusive of coasters and small craft trading with north-west Africa, 562 ships of 604,208 tons entered the port of Cartagena, 259 being British and 150 Spanish; while 90 vessels were accommodated at Porman.
It is regularly visited by steamers from Trieste, Fiume, Brindisi, and other Austro-Hungarian and Italian ports, as well as by many small Greek and Turkish coasters.
Corinto is the headquarters of shipping; it is visited by two-thirds of the 2100 vessels of 550,000 tons (including coasters) which annually enter the ports of the republic. The coasting trade is restricted to vessels under the Nicaraguan flag.
There is also some trade in farm produce and building materials which supplies a fleet of small coasters with cargo.
Small coasters can ascend the river as far as Salvatierra in Galicia (20 m.), but larger vessels are excluded by a sandy bar at the mouth.