New Miraflores Visitors Center
On December 2003, the Panama Canal Authority
(ACP) inaugurated a new state-of-the-art
visitors center on the east side of the Miraflores
The new Center offers an improved viewing
angle to observe Canal operations. The four-
story building is equipped with large balconies
that provide a spectacular view of the Miraflores
Locks and surrounding areas. From there,
tourists can witness the opening and closing of
the locks' miter gates while ships begin or finish
their voyage through one of the Canal's three
sets of locks. The locks function as elevators to
raise ships 26 meters above sea level to the level
of Gatun Lake, in their transit across the
Continental Divide, and then lower them back to
sea level on the opposite side of the Isthmus.
Four exhibition halls, organized by themes,
constitute the heart of the Miraflores Visitors
Center. The exhibitions are dedicated to the
history of the Canal, the importance of water as a
source of life, the Canal's operation, and its
crucial role in world trade. Historical objects of
Canal operations, interactive modules, video
presentations, and models of the Panama Canal
are exhibited at the Center. Within the halls,
visitors can experience how it feels being inside a
navigation simulator, or in one of the lock
culverts. Nature lovers will enjoy watching
displays of the different species of flora and
fauna that inhabit the Canal's watershed, and
learn about the role of water in the operation of
the Canal and its preservation.
The Center features an air-conditioned 182-seat
theater, three observation terraces, two snack
bars, a restaurant with panoramic views, a gift
shop, and a hall for special events. The Center
will be an excellent attraction for anyone visiting
Miraflores Locks, including cruise passengers
who disembark from their vessel and arrive at
the locks during a landside tour of the Canal.
President of the ACP
Advisory Board Receives
On February 20, 2004, Honorable William A.
O'Neil, Chairman of the ACP Advisory Board and
Emeritus Secretary of the International Maritime
Organization (IMO), was awarded the Order of
Sikatuna in the rank of Datu by the government
of the Philippines. This ceremony, held in
London, was headed by S.E. Edgardo Espiritu,
Ambassador of the Philippines to the United
Kingdom, who presented the distinction to
Mr. O'Neil on behalf of President Gloria
S. E. Edgardo Espiritu, Ambassador of the
Philippines to the U.K. & Honorable William A.
0 'Neil, Chairman of the ACP Advisory Board
William O'Neil was Secretary General of the IMO,
an entity of the United Nations, between January
1990 and December 2003. During the 23rd
Assembly of the United Nations, O'Neil's
extraordinary leadership and vision, as well as
his significant contributions in developing a
maritime culture focused on security, were
recognized by the member states of this
Mr. O'Neil's role as Chairman of the ACP Advisory
Board was crucial at the time of the transfer of
the Panama Canal to the Republic of Panama.
His support to the Panamanian administration
was instrumental at a time when it was
necessary to obtain the support of the
international maritime community for a smooth
and efficient transition.
a vch 2004
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Cargo Flows Increase 9.7%
Since the October 1 start of fiscal year 2004, cargo volume
through the waterway increased by 9.7 percent compared to
the same period last year. Nearly all of the main commodities
registered increases with the strongest growth coming from
containerized cargo, grains, and petroleum.
Containerized cargo continued to be the leading commodity
moving through the Canal, recording solid growth of 13.5
percent over the same four-month period in FY 2003. Through
January 2004, containers represented 17.4 million long tons of
cargo. The steady escalation in container trade through the
waterway is an indicator of improvement in the global
economic outlook. It also demonstrates the confidence that
the international shipping community has in the Canal, in
terms of cost, reliability, and safety.
Panama Canal Main Commodities October-January
Ores and Metals U FY 2004
Phosphates E FY 2003
Iron and Steel
Coal and Coke
0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000 12,000 14,000 16,000 18,000 20,000
Thousand Long Tons
Grains remained as the Canal's second most important
commodity group, with 15.9 million long tons recorded in the
first four months of fiscal year 2004. This volume represents a
rise of 9.2 percent over the 14.5 million long tons registered in
2003. The recovery of this commodity is being driven by
soybean as the result of buyers anticipating a possible increase
in prices, which triggered a premature purchase of this
product. The speculation surrounding the price increase has
its roots in low stocks caused by a poor harvesting season in
the United States.
Panamax Vessels May Set
During each of the first four months of fiscal year 2004,
transits by Panamax size vessels have been consistently
higher than the same period last year. The overall average
increase has been 11.3 percent.
Although the Panama Canal experienced a record-breaking
number of Panamax transits in fiscal year 2003, if the
current pattern continues, the waterway may set a new
record this year. Based upon the latest statistics, it is
estimated that Panamax transits could comprise as much as
44.3 percent of total oceangoing transits this year. This
would represent an increase of 3.2 percent over fiscal year
Panamax Transits 100' Beam & Over
Oct. 355 379 6.8%
Nov. 389 397 2.1%
Dec. 370 417 12.7%
Jan. 395 421 6.6%
Total 4,565 4,737 3.8%
New Launch "LENGUADO"
A new 31-passenger aluminum launch, LENGUADO, was
christened on January 27, 2004, at the ACP's Industrial
Shipyard. The vessel is named after a delicious tropical fish
found in Panama's waters. The construction of this launch
marked an historical occasion, as it is the first time in
several decades that Canal forces have built this type of
equipment. The launch, which is of equal class to the other
operational launches manufactured by outside contractors,
was built well under budget at a cost of $750,000.
The launch was built to class under Bureau Veritas for
transporting pilots, linehandlers or boarding officers. It will
be placed into service on the Atlantic side of the Canal for
initial assignment as a boarding officer launch, due to its
higher speed than the other launches, thus expediting the
shuttling of boarding officers. Its successful in-house
construction demonstrates that the Canal has the human
and technical skills, resources and facilities to build a world
Dates No. Of Days Miraflores Pedro Miguel Gatun Daily Transit Capacity Status
April 21 24, 2004 3 Lane Outage 30 32 Tentaive
May 31 June 10, 2004 11 Lane Outage 26-28 Tentaive
July 5 15, 2004 11 Lane Outage Lane Outage 26-28 Tentaive
August 9 19, 2004 11 Lane Outage 26-28 Tentaive
September 13 23, 2004 11 Lane Outage 26-28 Tentaive
For additional information visit our website www.pancanal.com
Growth of the All-Water route
The future of the all-water route, and its growing importance to
world trade were debated during the TOC AMERICAS 2003
Conference, held in Panama from December 2- 4, 2003.
Top ranking officials from the port authorities of New York &
New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, New Orleans,
Houston and Miami, as well as representatives of the Panama
Canal Authority, discussed the growing popularity of the route,
its benefits to shippers, and the actions being undertaken to
ensure its future competitiveness.
Hans Stig Moller, Managing Director of MaerskSealand Panama,
explained that the all-water route through the Panama Canal is
the preferred method for shipments from Asia destined to the
U.S. East Coast, as it is the easiest, fastest and most cost-
effective method to carry goods to the consumer markets.
Rodolfo Sabonge, ACP Corporate Planning & Marketing Director,
briefed the audience on the results of a recent study on liner-
container shipping performed by Louis Berger International.
According to the study, container volumes through the Canal
are expected to triple even in the most pessimistic scenarios,
from 3.7 million TEU in 2001 to 11.8 million in 2025, if the Canal
is expanded. And under a more optimistic projection, container
volumes could reach to 15.6 million TEU in 2025.
New Massport Agreement
The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) signed a Memorandum
of Understanding with the Massachusetts Port Authority
(Massport) that will serve to create job opportunities in
New England, promote trade between Asia and the United
States through the Panama Canal, generate business
opportunities, enhance customer service, and drive
economic growth. This new alliance is an example of the
ACP's aggressive plan to enhance trade along the "All-
Water Route", especially the route from Asia to America's
East Coast via the Panama Canal. With this mutual
agreement the ACP and Massport will target their efforts in
executing solutions for the long-term growth needs of the
maritime community and world trade.
Similar agreements have been signed
and other major ports along the U.S.
U.S. East Coast.
between the Canal
Gulf Coast and the
Craig P. Coy, CEO of Massportand Alberto Aleman
Zubieta, ACP Administrator
Connectivity of the Panama Canal all-water route
The East and Gulf Coast ports are experiencing a tremendous
increase in cargo volumes coming from Asia. Containerized
cargo at the ports of New York/New Jersey and Charleston,
have increased by 14% in the last year. Even though port
capacity constraints are considered a future threat, most of the
East and Gulf ports are carrying on, or have on the drawing
board, multi-million dollar investments for expansion projects.
Panama Canal Deputy Administrator, Ricaurte Vasquez,
discussed the improvements made to the waterway to reduce
Canal Waters Time, which has dropped below 23 hours, and the
remarkable increases in safety. However, he stressed that the
modernization and improvement programs currently underway
will not satisfy the demand at current growth rates. For this
reason, more than 150 studies are being carried out to create a
"roadmap" that will enable the ACP to continue to be responsive
to evolving changes in the market. These studies contemplate
the design of new, larger sets of locks of 427 meters in length,
61 meters in width and allowing for 15.2 meters of draft.
New Automated Data
Collection System (ADCS)
In compliance with the provisions of SOLAS amendments -
new International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS)
code -, the Panama Canal Authority has undertaken the
implementation of the Automated Data Collection System
(ADCS). The ADCS is an electronic information exchange
between the ACP information system and the systems of
our users, which enables the collection, administration and
validation of data. A staggered implementation of the ADCS
is scheduled to commence on April 1, 2004, with full
implementation scheduled by July 1, 2004.
With this system, all collection of data required for transit
through the Panama Canal will only be accomplished
through electronic means, and the submission of paper
information will no longer be accepted.
By developing this system, the Panama Canal reinforces its
commitment to provide the best level of security and
service to Canal users, while complying with all of the new
international security regulations. Additional information
concerning this implementation can be obtained by
accessing our website at www.pancanal.com, and refer to
Advisory to Shipping under the Maritime Operations link.
ACP Administrator, Alberto Aleman Zubieta, and/or
members of his staff will attend the events listed below. If
you are interested in meeting with a Panama Canal
representative in your area of interest, please contact the
Customer Relations Unit at 011-507-272-1747 or send
e-mail to email@example.com
World Shipping Council Meeting
Date: March 17, 2004
Place: San Francisco, California
CMA Shipping 2004
Date: March 22-24, 2004
Place: Stamford, Connecticut
Third Annual China Trade Conference
Date: April 7, 2004
Place: Savannah, Georgia
Ports 2004 Conference
Date: May 23-26, 2004
Changes to Canal Marine Tariffs
After twenty years without any adjustment to the rates of
the Panama Canal Transit Reservation System, effective,
January 1, 2004, the basic booking rate was increased to
$0.39 per PC/UMS ton. Reservations secured prior to
January 1, 2004 for any date within the year 2004 are
being honored without any additional charge.
In addition, the following changes to the rules are in
a. The distribution of the 21 slots allocated for
reservations under normal conditions will be distributed
to 12 large and nine small vessels.
b. The rule for substitutions has been revised to allow
swaps for vessels booked within six days of each other.
c. The criteria for establishing transit condition changes
was modified taking into account the current ship mix.
d. The fourth and fifth cancellation notice periods have
been modified to be based on 36 hours, instead of eight
hours in order to allow the ACP to offer canceled slots to
other interested vessels.
Effective March 1, 2004, the tariffs for transit related services
that the Panama Canal offers to its users, like tug and
linehandling services onboard vessels, will be changed.
For additional information on the changes to the Panama Canal
reservation system, please visit our website,
www.pancanal.com, and refer to Advisory to Shipping No. A-
50-2003, underthe Maritime Operations link.
Information about the new tariffs for selected transit related
services, can also be obtained at our website:
www.pancanal.com, by referring to Marine Tariff, under the
Maritime Operations link.
Panama Canal Administrator, Alberto Aleman Zubieta, was
named the recipient of the 2004 Outstanding International
Alumnus Award of Texas A&M University, a prestigious honor
awarded to alumni who have "attained national/international
prominence and possess a sufficient stature and integrity,"
according to the Texas A&M selection criteria. This award
recognizes Mr. Aleman Zubieta's outstanding contributions in
the private and public sector. He is especially recognized for
his commitment toward a smooth and seamless transition of
the Panama Canal on December 31, 1999, the continued
success of the Canal under Panamanian stewardship, his
commitment to his country, and his leadership role in
promoting the safe and efficient movement of world trade.
The award was presented in Texas at the University's annual
Consuls General Banquet during "International Week" on
March 1, 2004.
ACP Administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta, his wife Ana Matilde
and Texas A & M University officials.
We wan you co met fo mor inforatio
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Panama Canal Authority
Corporate Planning and Marketing (PM)
P.O. BOX 526725,
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Tel. (507) 272-7961
Fax: (507) 272-5916
SEE THIS NEWSLETTER ON THE ACP WEB SITEAT www.pancanal.com
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