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IADB: Central America region needs to boost logistics

Panama: The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) Annual meeting in Panama City called for Central American countries and the Dominican Republic to establish national logistics agendas to improve policy coordination and adapt their ports to the larger ships that will transit the Panama Canal route from 2015.

During a seminar on logistics, the IADB presented two studies: The first- Assessment of Port Performance and Port Connectivity Study in Belize, Central America and the Dominican Republic- evaluates port performance and the connectivity of 18 ports in Belize, Central America and the Dominican Republic and the second focuses on truck services in the same area, making recommendations going forward. 

The Panama Canal expansion puts pressure on maritime and land transport networks in Central America and the Dominican Republic, where there are few ports that are able to meet the demand for larger vessels, said the IADB.  'The need for more coordination is urgent because the expansion of the Panama Canal will accommodate post-Panamax vessels carrying containers 12,600, compared to the 4,500 that load current,' says the institution. Today, only two countries can receive post-Panamax vessels: Dominican Republic at Caucedo port and the terminals of Panama. Ports and roads should be able to handle much larger loads and do so more quickly and efficiently, the bank said. Therefore, unless there are significant changes in port strategies, the basic dynamics of the transport network amongst the ports surveyed will not change in the immediate future and will continue to be served by feeder lines.

However, the question is where to have those mega ports. The IADB report recommends that countries establish a national coordinating body responsible for overseeing the sea and land transport and emphasizes that the existence of an integrated intermodal maritime and land transport strategy is crucial for the future development of the region.

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