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SHIPPING SERVICES


Braswell shipyard on the Pacific side near Balboa port


considerably. Due to their size, there is a premium to transit the canal during daylight hours – and of course this is a high priority for the canal passage. The 2010-2011 season met the


company’s expectations given conditions in the overall cruise sector. ‘We were able to maintain a healthy stake in that market and anticipate similar participation in the 2011-2012 season with two new vessels -the Seabourn Quest and the Saga Quest, making their initial transit,’ he says. The expansion of Cristobal port has meant that cruise operations on Pier 6 have been ceased, following a decision by Panama Ports Co that administers the port. All cruise lines must now use the cruise terminal Colon 2000 on the Atlantic coast, which is already home port for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL). This change of port call has not reduced the numbers of calls, although ‘there has been a reduction in the numbers of transits primarily because of the costs,’ says Holmes. PSA terminal, on the Pacific side, which began operations last July, may provide a temporary alternative to cruise ships that cannot dock in Panama City since there is no cruise terminal. ‘Much will depend on how the docking movements will be performed at the location,’ says Holmes. Inchcape (www.iss-shipping.com) is a


leading provider of agency services in Panama and Central America where it represents several shipping lines and navies.


76 JD Maritime Services operates under


the care of director Jurgen Dorfmeier, who has a long experience in the shipping business and was a former managing director of Boyd Steamship Corp. The shipping agency is the only one to have been created in Panama in decades and the company offers consultancy services in addition to the traditional attendance to shipping lines and services related to the shipping industry. Other shipping agencies established in


Panama include Agencias Continental, Barwill Agencies, C. Fernie & Co, Cross Road Agencies, Norton Lilly International Panama, Pacific Agent Ship Panama, Panama Agency Co, PanCanal Shipping Agency, Sopisco, Wilford & Mc Kay, Unigreen Marine and Setimsa.


Ship Repair Several international ship repair companies are looking at Panama to set up shop and some firms are already on the lookout for land to build new facilities – a problem given space constraints. And beyond the existing players, there have also been high-profile newcomers attracted by canal expansion, such as Wärtsilä that opened shop in Panama in 2007. The company, which recently moved in to the former Howard US air force base, is servicing its main customers, which include the Panama Canal tugboats and other private companies. Most of the international ship repair companies established in Panama also


face the problem of space, with few facilities available for expansion and very limited land at both entrances of the Panama Canal. In 2005, the most important ship repair firms representing and the Chamber of Shipping as co- signed the constitution and registration of the ‘cluster of ship repair’. The main objective was to create new opportunities, promote competitiveness and develop initiatives for the existing ship repair companies established in Panama and present an alternative by offering its services on an international level. However the bottom line remains a dramatic lack of adequate facilities. There is an increasing demand for specialists and skilled workers in most of the fields of the maritime sector, which prompted the government to begin programmes targeting the formation of specialised workers for the Panama Canal expansion to supply this sector. Braswell Shipyard International (www.braswellshipyard.com) on the Pacific side and next to Balboa port, was built by the former Panama Canal Company and remains the largest shipyard on the Pacific Coast between California and the Pacific South American countries. At the time the Panama Maritime Review 2011-2012 went to press, the future of Braswell Shipyard is very undefined. Its concession concludes in October 2011 and the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has said it would put the concession to international tender. However no date has been announced for


PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2011/12


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