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Panama’s Balboa Port hit by IT glitch

Balboa: Container cargo handling operations at the Pacific port of Balboa operateed by Hutchison Ports Holdings’ subsidiary Panama Ports Co (PPC) have been paralysed since 20 March because of changes in the terminal’s IT systems.  

The situation has caused the Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC), which operates the railway between Balboa and the Atlantic ports of Cristobal, Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) and Colon Container Terminal (CCT) to stop moving its daily 2,200 containers. Some 500 containers, mostly reefers were stranded in Balboa and could not be sent to the Atlantic side. Hundreds of empties whose final destination was Asia, could not be moved from Colon to PPC facilities. PPC officials said operations would resume in the coming days.

Some shipping lines had had to use trucks to transport containers by land from Panama City to Colon province, but it was difficult for them to move thousands of containers per day. Maritime industry representatives have expressed concern about port services setbacks in recent months. Last year a week-long walkout at PPC’s Balboa reduced cargo operations prompting shipping lines to divert momentarily cargo to Buenaventura port in Colombia.  

Panamanian ports moved 6.8m teu in 2012, an increase of 3.4% compared to 2011 when cargo volumes grew by 18%.

 

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