By Franklin Castrellón
The thirtieth version of the biannual Panama Maritime Exhibition will be dedicated to celebrating the country’s two major maritime and logistics successes – the centenary of the Panamanian Ship Registry and the expansion of the Canal – and examine the promising perspectives the imminent transformation of Panama into the logistics hub of the Americas provides to investors.
The event that brings together some 500 international and local maritime industry leaders it will take place from March 12 to 15, 2017, at the Megapolis Convention Center in Panama.
In the 2017 version, “we will not only be celebrating the centenary and success of the largest ship registry in the world and the expansion of our Channel, but we will also be demonstrating that we are aware of our challenges and perspectives,” said the President of the Organizing Committee, Flor de María Torrijos.
The inaugural ceremony will be attended by the top executives of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) and the Logistics Cabinet, among local personalities, and the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Minister of Economic Development of Curaçao and the Director of the Maritime Authority of Honduras.
The South Korean Shipowners’ Association last week confirmed participation of its president and vice-president. Also confirmed are 15 port, bank, insurance, education and IT companies in the UK and 26 companies in the Netherlands, including one of the largest shipyards in the world (Damen) that will be participating with obvious interest in the eventual expansion of maritime services offered by Panama.
The Netherlands has a leading position in Europe in promoting green ports that are compatible with the environment.
“We will gather key maritime industry leaders in Panama Maritime with regulators and experts to share knowledge, experiences and ideas in a forum that will surely bring new solutions and initiatives to respond to the most important challenges facing the industry today and in the years to come,” Torrijos said.
She said that among the topics that will be discussed in this world forum are the challenges of the registration of ships, the opportunities open to industry and investors from the expanded Canal, the challenges of the marine fuel market and the future of the transshipment center of Panama .
The series of conferences will begin on Monday, March 13, with a presentation by the AMP administrator, Jorge Barakat, entitled “One hundred years promoting world trade”, in which he will make a historical review of the Panamanian registry, its current situation and its future perspectives. With 8,834 ships and 359 million tons, the Panamanian fleet represents 20% of the world’s merchant fleet.
Immediately afterwards, the administrator of the ACP, Jorge Quijano, will speak on “The expansion of the Canal, its construction, inauguration and operation”, focused on the great economies of scale that the Panamanian route now offers and the new market segments, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fixed route services that have been attracted by their increased capacity.
Curacao’s Economic Development Minister, Eugene Philip Rugenaath, will speak on Panama, Honduras and Curaçao’s trade relations.
Given its importance, Panama Maritime has left for its last session the debate on the future of the container transshipment center of Panama, whose central theme is the development of the port of Corozal, a project in which four global port operators prequalified: APM Terminals B.V. (Holland); Terminal Link (France); PSA International Pte., Ltd (Singapore), and Terminal InvestmentLimited, S.A. (The Netherlands).
The operators had a deadline of Friday, March 3, to submit their proposals.
Among the international issues of interest to the merchant fleet, the forum will discuss implementation of the IMO Convention for ships using low ignition gases or fuels (IGF Code) and the convention governing ballast water management.