In an exclusive interview with The Maritime Podcast Jose Alejandro Rojas, Minister of Facilitation of Private Investments for the Presidency of the Republic of Panama, explained in detail the opportunities available and how Panama is gearing up for the future with the 2030 National Logistics Strategy.
Linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans Panama has a long history as a shipping and logistics hub and Minister Rojas 'department has been working to streamline processes that link the various parts of that logistics chain.
“We have the Panama Canal, we have the five ports, we have the Free Trade Zones, railroad dry canal that connects ocean to ocean in 45 minutes, and then we have the aspect that air cargo of the airports. So, in all these institutions, the infrastructure itself has been built.
“What needs to be really improved is on all processes that deal with the trade between all these institutions and the regulator, one such as customs. So, we work very hard on our main focus is working on simplifying standardizing detail and the interoperability of these processes and systems. And that's where we have been focused,” the Minister told the Maritime Podcast.
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One of the first countries in Latin America to privatise its ports Panama has a highly developed ports system despite its small size geographically. The focus now is on value added logistics and linking all the different players in the sector. Investment opportunities that result will include port concessions, a shipyard, agri-parks and opportunities in LNG power generation and bunkering.
“We believe that there's going to be opportunities for generating integration between ports and industries. So, they become one area and you don't have to go through customs to get out of the port and then to get into the free zone by having more integrated areas of value added close to ports,” Minister Rojas explained.
“Between the turnkey projects that are restructured financially, and public private partnership projects, we have over $6 billion in opportunities, we're also working hard on generating opportunities for more private investors, so more citizens, because the corporate investments take more time.”
With international bids planned the Minister welcomed prestigious international companies from the sector to get involved.
Looking ahead Minister Rojas stated: “We're going to keep working on consolidating Panama as a hub of hubs - a logistics hub, hub of business and services, hub of connecting people through our airports, and energy hub, a technology hub, and also a value added hub.”
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