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SHIPPING SERVICES


Transhipment and logistics hub


establishing their headquarters in Panama, the circumstances could not be more favourable for the development of Panama as the key transhipment centre and logistics hub of the Americas. The installation of maritime ancillary


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companies and the re-location of international firms benefit from a new legislation on multinationals establishing regional headquarters in Panama as well as the Colon Free Zone, situated on the Atlantic side that is the largest duty free zone after Hong Kong. This has created a special environment for transhipment thereby boosting logistics business from ship repairers, chandlers and service companies. The $5.25bn expansion of the Panama Canal is enhancing the country’s strategic geographical position and laying the framework for increased economic activity. Outside of the waterway, Panama’s cluster of offerings – from modern ports and container terminals to its business-friendly environment – helps make it an attractive logistics partner. In addition to the Canal expansion, Panama’s world-class transhipment terminals have become essential for transforming the Isthmus into a key transportation and logistics hub of the Americas. The terminals handled a total of 5.6m teu in 2010 and displayed a growth of 26.4% during the first half of 2011.


PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2011/12


s Panama’s economy is booming, port activity is on the rise and more than 50 multinational firms are


‘The expansion had had a clustering


effect in Panama where core services related to air, rail and sea are complemented by key financial, maritime, transportation, and legal business ventures and partnerships, among others,’ says Panama Canal Authority (ACP) administrator Alberto Aleman Zubieta.


groups together shipping lines and shipping agencies, marine supplies companies, ship repair, bunkering, port administrators, the railroad and almost every sector related to the maritime business. Its membership, with more than 180


Jose Digeronimo, gm VT Shipping


The convergence of all these sectors in Panama presents endless possibilities and yields a unique competitive advantage for the country, which has registered economic growth of 7.2% in 2010. It is forecast to see growth between 8%-9% for 2011, making Panama one of the best performers of the region. The Panama Chamber of Shipping


(Camara Maritima de Panama, www.camaramaritime.org.pa) was created in 1979 as a non-profit organisation. It


companies, is constantly growing as a number of new companies (foreign and national) have opened shop in Panama in recent years. The Chamber of Shipping includes companies all related to the maritime-port activity and encompases the largest shipping lines in the world and main users of the Panama Canal, such as Maersk Line, COSCO, Evergreen, MOL, APL, China Shipping, Seaboard, CSAV, Crowley Liner Services, CMA-CGM among others. All of these shipping companies have offices in Panama from which they operate their fleets of Panamax vessels, tankers, reefers and bulk carriers. In 2009, the Panama Chamber of Shipping accepted two new members of great importance – the Ports of Houston and New Orleans.


Every year the Chamber of Shipping


elects a new board of directors. The election in June 2011 saw a new board come in to power, headed by president Jose Digeronimo, gm of VT Shipping with over 20 years of experience in ship administration of car carriers, tankers and recently bunker barges. He is accompanied by lawyer Guillermo Marquez from the law firm Marquez & Associates as first vp; second vp Willys Delvalle, APL-Panama; treasurer Javier Ortiz from Decal Panama; and secretary


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