A landlocked country cannot access the ocean since the nearest coast is in another administrative unit. Every continent, except North America and Oceania, has landlocked countries, and the most significant include Bolivia, Switzerland, Austria, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Landlocked countries have transport costs, which are on average 50% higher than countries that are not. If containerized imports are considered, landlocked countries have costs that are 85% higher than the world average. For landlocked countries in the developing world, the following issues are particularly prevalent:
- Difficulties in accessing international markets and a dependency on the stability and openness of neighboring countries to ensure reliable access to international markets.
- Economies that are reliant on the resource sector, such as agriculture and mining. While agriculture tends to be mostly subsistence-oriented, other resources have a strong export component and high transport costs. Their exports are thus likely to be less competitive. The median landlocked country has less than 40% of the trade volume of the median coastal country.
- The internal transport system tends to be deficient with a high concentration level, mostly around the capital.
A landlocked country can mitigate its lack of accessibility to global trade by developing transport corridors toward maritime gateways. While fluvial navigation is possible in specific cases, fluvial systems servicing landlocked countries are mostly present in Europe (e.g. Switzerland and Austria can be serviced by barges). It is through rail corridors that the most effective freight services are established. There are no specific connectivity barriers for landlocked countries to access air transportation (e.g. Zurich is a major air transport hub in Europe). Still, landlocked countries tend to be less connected because of their lower levels of development.