Forum about the expanded Canal and Chile

The Chilean Embassy in Panama and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) developed the Chile-Panama Global Opportunities Forum where the potential of the expansion of the inter-oceanic route for Chilean maritime trade was discussed.

The event was attended by the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, the Canal Administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, and the Chilean Ambassador to Panama, Francisco Cruz.

It should be noted that Chile is the fourth major user of the Panama Canal – for a long time it was the third – after the US. Accordingly, cooperation with Panama on trade and maritime transport is a key in the relationship.

Panamanian and Chilean leaders of the shipping industry went to the forum.

Panamanian and Chilean leaders of the shipping industry went to the forum.

It is for this purpose that the Panamanian President’s visit to Chile on April 25 took shape and the idea of setting up this forum in order to discuss the opportunities offered by Chilean foreign trade in the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Varela said that the Canal plays a very important role, so that Chile can export more goods to Europe, the East Coast of the United States and Asia.

At the domestic level, he said that the Canal should facilitate integration with the ports, airports and the Panama-Colón highway to make freight transport more efficient.

The president also said that the inter-oceanic route develops its own logistics plan for the future and that the use of land adjacent to the Canal could add value to the products that cross the waterway, in addition to creating food distribution centers for the various countries of the region.

The forum also discussed mergers between shipping companies made to survive in the maritime world, where companies compete in the midst of an economy in a slowdown.

Shipowners of Chile

Ricardo Tejada, general manager of the National Shipowners’ Association (ANA), met with the Canal administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano, about whom he said “he has very well considered the Chilean shipowners and the country, which for us is a great pride.”

As for the forum, he said that “very interesting issues related to shipping, maritime, port and international trade in Chile were developed” and stressed that in this instance “we all agree on the importance of maritime transport, and the importance of the Panama Canal for Chile.”

He also emphasized the words of the Panamanian president who “made special mention of Chile as a country, in terms of its administration, its governance and the confidence it gives”.

Tejada, during his speech, emphasized “the importance of the State policies that must be had to facilitate international trade by sea. It has to be a State, a government with long-term policies, where we have to worry that governance is modern, up-to-date, with one-stop shops, facilitators, with little paperwork and worry about infrastructure, because if nothing is done we are going to be short, since not only does it require a large port, but a large logistics network.”

Cruise terminal

He emphasized, in that sense, that Panama is in an important project, in which it has Chile as a strategic ally to build a cruise terminal. This is in order to generate the route between Chile and Panama, which will allow Panama to receive those ships that do not call or that currently only pass by.

In that sense, he pointed out that “from that point of view it would be strategically important for us (in Chile) to build a cruise terminal, since this could mean expanding the number of cruise lines” and added that if “we build a large port in San Antonio and another in Valparaiso, it would be a very good idea.”

Tejada also pointed out that as ANA and in the company of the agent of the embassy, Cristián Jara, they held a meeting with the Panama Maritime Authority, which dealt with issues related to the work of a maritime authority in a country, the relevance of port State control and international agreements. The experience of Panama in the registry of ships was also discussed, considering that more than 8,000 merchant ships sail under its flag.

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