CANAL DE PANAMA
PANAMA CANAL NEWS
Message from the Panama Canal
The Holiday Season offers a time to
reflect on achievements of the past
year and look ahead to future
opportunities. At the ACP, it is the
ideal occasion to thank our customers
for their continued business and share
our expectations for the coming year.
The year 2010 has been a memorable
one for the Panama Canal Authority.
It marked two very special milestones: the 10th anniversary of
the Canal's transfer to the Republic of Panama and the
one-millionth transit through the waterway by STX Pan Ocean's
This year also marked the end of a significant decade for our
country. Over the past 10 years, Panama, for the first time,
took full responsibility of its most important asset and
enhanced its benefits to the country, people of Panama and
Continued Partnership with Ports Around the
Since 2003, the ACP has initiated and renewed Memorandums
of Understanding (MOU) with ports that receive cargo via the
waterway, particularly those located along the East and Gulf
Coasts of the United States.
This year, the ACP signed MOUs with the Mississippi State
Port Authority at Gulfport, the Antwerp Port Authority, the
Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, the Port Authority of
Algeciras Bay, the Port of Galveston, the Port of Long Beach
and the North Carolina State Port Authority.
We are pleased to see that the shipping industry and port
terminals have taken note of the new post-Panamax vessel
dimensions that will be implemented following the
Expansion Program's completion. We have seen a
heightened interest in taking advantage of the expanded
Canal's expected benefits in terms of new ship designs and
investments to ensure that port terminals will be able to
accommodate these larger vessels. In the coming years, we
will continue working with our transportation system
partners to meet the anticipated demands in world
commerce and promote increased trade.
Our $5.25 billion Expansion Program that will double the
waterway's capacity and allow for the transit of wider and
longer vessels with deeper drafts continues moving forward
as planned. Once completed in 2014, the expanded Canal
will be a game changer for global trade. It will enhance the
value of the route via the waterway while providing
economies of scale and overall cost reductions in the supply
In October, the ACP Board of Directors and Advisory Board
inspected the physical model of the new set of locks in Lyon,
France. The model was built by the Compagnie National du
Rh6ne's (CNR) Hydraulic Laboratory, a subcontractor of
Grupo Unidos por el Canal, S.A. (GUPCSA), the contractor
tasked with the design and construction of the new locks.
The inspection enabled Canal officials to visualize how the
locks' hydraulics will work in terms of filling and emptying the
lock chambers when raising or lowering a vessel. Once
GUPCSA and CNR finalize the configuration of the locks'
hydraulic system, the construction stage will begin.
Overall, expansion work is 15 percent complete with work
underway on dredging, dry excavation and locks construction
A New and Improved Canal
Today, we operate the Canal as a business, and are
constantly working to improve the service provided to our
customers. We continue to make major investments to
guarantee the Canal's viability well into the future. Over the
past 10 years, more than $1.6 billion have been invested in
modernizing and improving the Canal's grounds and
equipment. This has led to improved performance and
superior customer service. In fiscal year 2010, our average
Canal Waters Time the time it takes a vessel to complete
its transit, waiting time included was just 21.1 hours. Due
to the Canal's continued safe, reliable and efficient transits,
demand for reservation slots decreased considerably,
generating cost savings to customers.
An Evolving Country
The transfer of the Panama Canal by the United States
December 31, 1999, brought a myriad of opportunities to the
Republic of Panama. It allowed the country to demonstrate
that it was capable of managing and operating one of the
world's most important commercial arteries. It also brought
with it land areas and installations that have been essential for
the development and modernization of what is fast becoming
the logistics and transportation hub of the Americas.
Working Hand in Hand with our Customers
The last decade has been instrumental in strengthening ties
with the shipping community. We are thankful to the
associations and customers who have provided us with
feedback on their experience with the Canal.
This exchange of ideas has allowed us to develop a
segment-specific tolls structure. For example, we moved away
from the one-price-fits-all method by incorporating a TEU
charge for full containerships and a per berth charge for
passenger vessels. In addition, this pricing structure equates
the Canal cost to the actual value of the service provided.
The feedback received from customers also prompted us to
provide some relief measures in 2009 and to defer the toll
increase planned for 2010. In consideration of the global
economic crisis that, in particular, affected global trade and the
shipping sector, the ACP decided to delay the toll increase. A
new tolls adjustment for all market segments will be
implemented in January 2011, with the exception of reefer
segments, which will go into effect in April 2011.
This year, after thorough consultations with the industry, the
ACP modified the pricing structure for full containerships. Toll
calculations were also modified, incorporating a slight price
adjustment to the capacity charge, and an additional charge for
the number of loaded containers aboard a vessel at the time of
transit. To properly assess the new toll, it is important that all
full containerships submit their BAPLIE file (Bay Plan Stowage
Plan of Occupied and Empty Spaces) prior to arriving in Canal
waters, in addition to the declaration of cargo.
We look forward to our continued work with shipping
associations and our customers to inform fair and adequate
pricing structures for the expanded Canal.
Panama is Ready
As the ACP forges ahead with the Expansion Program, the
country is preparing to handle the surge of cargo and business
that will be brought to Panama.
Installations in the areas that surround the waterway are now the
heart of a cluster of maritime and transportation related activities
that provide value-added services to the shipping lines and
shippers that deploy cargo through the Panama Canal.
The main elements of the cluster include:
* An efficient port system (composed of Manzanillo International
Terminal, the Port of Balboa and Cristobal and Colon Container
Terminal) equipped with 52 gantry cranes, that move more than
four million TEUs a year and expect to double output by 2015;
* The Panama Canal Railway that provides intermodal service
between the Pacific and Atlantic ports of Panama with an
installed capacity of 500,000 containers per year;
* The Panama-Pacifico Special Economic Area that offers tax
incentives to foreign companies and is equipped with
warehousing space, a business park, and an airport;
* The Colon Free Zone, the largest in the Western Hemisphere;
* The Tocumen International Terminal, which is expanding its
* The COPA Hub of the Americas that provides air connectivity
to 45 destinations in 24 countries; and,
* Third-party logistics providers, land connectivity,
telecommunications, bunkering services, and a banking center
that handles transactions in U.S. dollars.
We look forward to a bright future in which Panama will play a
more critical role in world trade and continue to mold itself as the
transportation and logistics hub of the Americas. We hope that
your company becomes part of the group of businesses that is
working to take advantage of the expansion. My best wishes for
a Happy Holiday Season and a most successful New Year!
Alberto Aleman Zubieta
Panama Canal Authority
Panama Canal Authority Tel (507) 272-7961
Your comments and suggestions are very important to us. If you need additional Market Research & Analysis Office (ME) Fax (507) 272-1416
copies mailed to other officials within your corporation, please contact us at the PO BOX 526725 Miami FL 33152-6725 e-mail customerelations@pancanal com
address indicated in the next box.
SEE THIS NEWSLETTER ON THE ACP WEB SITE AT: www pancanal com
(then click on News)
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