Week in Review May 16

ZLC RISING

Revenues of the Colon Free Zone (ZLC) for 2018 could improve slightly, while the site recovers from a commercial crisis that resulted in a tax and tariff reduction for its users.

CANAL EXCEEDS

The expansion of the Panama Canal generates good results. Since its inauguration, from June 26, 2016, to April 30 this year, toll revenues exceed $528.6 million. Over 1,000 neo-panamax ships (an average of 5.9 ships per day) have transited the interoceanic route during these ten months, while initially two to three daily transits were forecast.

MORE TEUs

The movement of TEUs, or containers 20 feet long, increased by 15% during the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period of 2016. In the first three months of this year, the six ports of Panama moved 1,670,000 TEUs, compared to 1,451,000 in the same period of 2016, according to preliminary data of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).

CUSTOMS SALE

About $2,718.32 was generated by the sale of merchandise confiscated or declared as abandoned by the National Customs Authority. This auction included the sale of forms for a total of $170. From cars and spare parts to iron hooks for cranes, among others, were part of the products auctioned, according to Customs officials.

TUG QUESTIONS

The Panama Canal Pilots’ Union presented a habeas data action before the Supreme Court against the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) in order to be provided with information on the contract signed with Myers Tugs SA This company has been contracted with the ACP since June, 2016, to provide the service of between five and eight tugs that are used as auxiliaries in the maneuvers of vessels that transit the Panama Canal, specifically in the locks of Miraflores, Cocolí, Gatún and Aguas Claras.

PILOTS NEGOTIATE

Preference for national pilots when recruiting is one of the requirements presented by the Panamanian Union of Commercial Aviators (Unpac), representing Copa Airlines pilots, presented at the table where it negotiates with this airline. Jaime Cohen, the leader of Unpac in the negotiation, said that there is progress with respect to this request and also on benefits for seniority and vacations.

SLOW SALMON

The wait to export genetically modified salmon to Canada and the United States continues, as authorities have not given the permission to complete this process, once and for all, to the company Aqua Bounty Technology, located in Bajo Mono, Boquete, Chrirquí. In this wait, which has been seven years, according to Franklin Kwai Ben, technology manager of the company, 60 tons of transgenic salmon have been discarded. Each kilo costs $9 on the international market.

SPENDING SPREE

Yachts, land on the beach with a view to the sea, a lot on an artificial island, country houses, apartments and a helicopter are just some of the goods that the sons of ex-President Ricardo Martinelli bought. Ricardo Alberto and Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli, accumulated properties during the five-year period when their father ruled the country between 2009 and 2014.

COPTER LINK

The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor investigating the Odebrecht case, has cited Raul de Saint Malo García, brother of Vice-President, Isabella de Saint Malo, to explain his link with the management check of $1,929,000 that paid part of the cost of the helicopter of Luis Enrique Martinelli Linares, son of ex- president Ricardo Martinelli.

CRATER COVER

The Minister of Public Works, Ramón Arosemena and the new director of the Social Security Fund, Alfredo Martiz, were the most questioned officials of the government of President Juan Carlos Varela. In the first case, the avalanche of criticism was growing from his appearance in a local newspaper of an interview in which Arosemena stated that he was “everywhere and I have never fallen into a hole,” which earned him public revulsion in view of the general state of the streets and avenues that reflect craters of different dimensions and depths. Faced with the harsh criticism, President Juan Carlos Varela vigorously defended his performance as “excellent.”

MONEY WATCH

Following its mission to Panama, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded in its final statement that strengthening fiscal transparency and financial integrity should remain the top priority in Panama’s public policy agenda. According to the IMF, as a regional financial center, it is important for Panama to have comprehensive oversight of systemic risks and a sound macroprudential and crisis management framework to safeguard financial stability.

CRUISE BUILDER

The technical assessment of the proposal of the single participant obtained a score of 536 points out of a possible total of 580. The consortium Cruceros del Pacifico, made up of China Harbour Engineering Company (Chec) and Jan de Nul, of Belgium, will have to adjust its economic proposal if it aspires to build the cruise terminal on Perico Island, on the Amador causeway.

SOUND BANKING

In 2016, the International Banking Center (CBI) recorded a total of $121,075 million in assets, representing a record and growth of 3.3% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to figures from the Superintendence of Banks of Panama (SBP). The figure is of great relevance for Daniel Oblitas, general manager of Banco Azteca, who believes that this record is achieved with the level of oversight of the SBP.

HOME PORT

The ship Zenith arrived on Friday, May 5 at the homeport of Colon 2000 on the Atlantic coast. The vessel, with capacity for 1,877 passengers, belongs to the shipping company Pullmantur Cruceros and takes over from the Monarch. Those who love to travel by ship have an excellent option in the Pullmantur Cruceros fleet, which has an interesting route: Antilles and South Caribbean, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). With the permanent operation of Pullmantur, tourism is strengthened in the province, said the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Him, and the country is consolidated as one of the main home ports in the Caribbean.

LOOKING AHEAD

The issuance of a new 2047 bond, which Panama carried out on May 4 in international capital markets, received offers above $4 billion. That is, 4 times above the initial amount of $1 billion.

NEW DUTY FREE

Once the “duty free” area of Tocumen International Airport Terminal 1 is awarded, the process to tender the commercial premises of the new building will begin. Tocumen, S.A., began the process to tender the 1,500 square meters of duty free in the main building of the air terminal. After a planning that took more than two years. Tocumen published the call for tender, a document bearing the signature of new administrator, Carlos Duboy.

SAFETY MEETING

Representatives of the 13 countries of the Operational Network of Regional Cooperation of Maritime Authorities of the Americas (Rocram) participated in a workshop in Panama on the implementation of agreements on pollution. The meeting addressed the ratification and implementation of the International Convention on Cooperation, Preparedness and Response to Oil Pollution (OPRC) and the Protocol on Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS Protocol), sponsored by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

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