First woman president of the CMP

By Marijulia Pujol Lloyd

The shipping sector has been traditionally dominated by men, but in 2018 that changed when Patricia Velasquez became the Panama Chamber of Shipping’s first female president.

She is the commercial director of Macosnar Corporation., a recognized security organization and classification society founded in 1995 to offer services of professional quality to the maritime community.

Velasquez has twelve years experience in the maritime sector. She is certified to teach the Anti Piracy course and 33 CFR Chapter XI-2 of SOLAS 74 International Security and Port Facility Security Code, Hull & Machinery and Protection & Indemnity for vessels; Company Security Officer; Quality Management System & Internal Audits, Risk Management ,MLC 2006 , STCW with manila amendments. She is also a project manager and law student.

Patricia Velásquez,

Patricia Velásquez, president of the
Panama Chamber of Shipping.

The president of the CMP is convinced that the shipping and logistics sector is evolving and although it is true that men dominate the executive jobs or middle management, it is important to highlight the work of the women in the ports and in the companies in which many of them occupy high positions.

“For example, this year on our Board of Directors of nine people, five of them are women and this is the first time a woman leads the guild.

“The maritime sector is prepared not only to receive more women, but also to allow them to occupy important positions in the industry which is already being observed, not only at the level of the private sector, but also in the public sector,” she added.

Velasquez sees the urgent need to modernize the shipping and logistics sector and for that reason the “Country Maritime Vision 2019-2024” document was drafted, to give the future President of the Republic, whoever he might be, a clear path of what needs to be done; so Panama can take full advantage of its geographical position, the Canal and the other assets it has.

The five strategic pillars that are discussed in the document: strengthening of the institutions and human resources; priority infrastructure projects; legal framework and strengthening of legal security; improving and streamlining procedures and administrative transactions and negotiation and management of international treaties, always guaranteeing the protection of national interests, seek to achieve that goal.

“We are facing strong regional competition to capture the cargo that arrives at our ports and we need to increase our competitiveness and efficiency,” explained Velasquez.

“It is necessary to execute infrastructure projects such as water management and improving port capacity on the Pacific.

Another key axis is to have up-to-date legal frameworks and strengthening legal security, the improvement of processes and technology to guarantee transparency and agility and, finally, the management of international treaties to safeguard national interests,” she said.

Talking about the education received by future logistics and shipping professionals, Velasquez concluded that “one of the shortcomings in the sector is the lack of fluent English in those who are studying maritime careers and those related to it. The service provided is international, in which proper management of the professional language is required to be able to maintain an effective communication. This is something that we also consider in the CMP.”

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