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Panama’s Corozal port faces opposition

Panama City: The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is studying the feasibility of building a 3-4m teu capacity terminal in two phases of 1.5m teu, at Corozal on the east bank of the waterway next to the Canal Miraflores locks where it owns 67 hectares of land.

The 120 hectare site, the ACP would buy 44 additional hectares from the government, would have access to the Panama Canal Railway, facilitating container moves to the Atlantic.

The APC will be the landowner and would call for tenders for the construction and operation of the new terminal. “It would not be a concession as we want a port operator working under contract with [the ACP]”, says ACP Administrator Jorge Quijano. The ACP board of directors will soon make a decision whether to proceed or not.

In addition to this initiative, the ACP is also studying seven ventures such as logistics parks, ro-ro terminals, bunkering and LNG, water and a railroad yard for post-panamax vessels, among others.

The Corozal project has been welcomed by all but the management of Panama Ports, a subsidiary of Hutchison Ports Holdings, that administers the port of Balboa on the Pacific side which fears fierce competition. According to Luca Versari, ceo of Panama Ports Co (PPC), they have asked the government for the land adjacent to Corozal to expand their facilities but the ACP refused to give them the area.

Ten years ago, the government had planned to develop a mega-port at Farfan, on the western bank of the canal but the project was not implemented in part because PPC filed three complaints with the Supreme Court. When these were resolved after several years, Farfan had already sunk into oblivion.


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