Panama City: Panama is trying to position itself as the logistics hub for the Americas, says the boss of the country’s vital canal, which is more than 55% through its huge expansion programme.
Panama Canal Authority ceo Jorge Quijano says that with airports and ports being built up, and logistics centres under construction the Central American nation has the chance to be the transport “nexus” for the Americas.
Quijano reckons cargoes can arrive by sea to Panama and then deliver to anywhere in the region by air, an advantage, he says, “you do not have anywhere else when serving the Americas.”
Quijano says Panama is nearly equidistant to Canada and all the way to Argentina, making it an ideal place to handle goods such as electronics.
“We can tranship, store and then distribute from Panama,” the canal head tells Maritime CEO.
While the Panama Canal has a direct 6% impact on the country’s GDP, but when all maritime related services, including the world leading flag, are added to the mix, maritime accounts for as much as 38% of the Central American nation’s GDP, Quijano reckons.
In its bid to be a genuine maritime hub Panama is looking closely at further shipyards.
“We feel one of the things that will be needed once the canal is opened up to post-panamax ships is post-panamnax repairs,” Quijano says. “It is one of the activities that we are keen to review to see if it is feasible either for the canal to do it or for the canal to facilitate someone else to do it.” [24/04/13]