Traffic jams up product prices

By Marijulia Pujol Lloyd

The Panama Land Cargo Transport Association (Asociación de Transportistas de Carga de Panama – ATRACAPA) is experiencing problems trying to find drivers with the right qualifications.

That, together with the high level of drivers leaving their present jobs looking for better working conditions, has had a negative effect on the industry.

Traffic jams are a nightmare for truck drivers

Traffic jams are a nightmare for truck drivers.

Olmedo Solé from ATRACAPA told The Bulletin that outdated legislation on weight and dimensions for cargo trucks as well as the law related to Land Cargo Transport are not helping the industry to move forward. Meetings took place between the different transport associations and the Transit and Land Transport Authority, Customs and the Ministry of Commerce, but since then, nothing has happened.

The Bridge of the Americas cannot be used by trucks

The Bridge of the Americas cannot be used by trucks.

“We would like the Ministry of Public Works to present before the National Assembly a bill about Weights and Dimensions, which was revised by all the transport unions of the country more than four years ago. So far the proposal has been put on the back burner and nothing has been done about it, although the majority of the truckers’ associations have pointed out that the previous law that regulates this matter does not reflect the reality of the industry,” said Solé.

“Another obstacle for the proper development of the trucking industry in Panama is the constant rises in operation costs, delays in the ports and traffic jams, which, as well as increasing expenses, reflects badly on our response capacity impacting negatively on the health of the drivers who have to spend many hours at the wheel. “In the capital city the situation is worse, but in the case of the interior the principal headache is the bad state of the roads towards David in Chiriqui” said Olmedo Solé.

Another obstacle for the proper development of the trucking industry in Panama is the constant rises in operation costs

Other land transport unions, such as the Cámara Nacional de Transporte de Carga (National Chamber of Cargo Transport – CANATRAPA)) have also mentioned repeatedly that the constant traffic jams have brought, as a consequence, penalization by the shipping companies for being late.

The reorganization of the roads, the constructions of new overpasses and bridges on Via Brazil, Calle 50 and the Transistmican Highway, plus the Metro works and the refurbishment of the Bridge of the Americas have almost completely paralyzed Panama City.

The truckers are expecting that once the “road reorganization” and the Metro are finished, the traffic will move with more fluidity, but with delays in the constructions and the bad weather things are not going to improve anytime soon. In the meantime, the prices of products are continuing to escalate due to the continued delays on Panama’s main highways.

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