Neighboring ports of Panama have been growing faster in the early months of this year, according to records of the port system up until July, showing a cumulative growth of 9% over the same period of 2010.
The growth rate is positive, but what is alarming is the decline that has been registered in the Panamanian port system from April until July this year when negative numbers began appearing, a very different situation compared to the same months of 2010 and 2011, after the crisis when the growth rate was strong and constant throughout the year.
Panama’s largest ports in terms of volume and infrastructure are Balboa and Manzanillo, which have registered declines in volume since April this year.
In the specific case of Balboa, during the first quarter of 2012 it showed robust double-digit growth, but it has fallen in July by 19.9%, while Manzanillo grew by only 3.2% in that month and in the previous month (June) it had fallen 4.6%.
An industry source said that Panama has still not recovered the confidence of multinational companies that use the isthmus as their cargo hub following the dock strike.
The port of Cristobal in first place in the past three years shows a negative rate in volume recorded during the second quarter. Like Balboa, Cristobal soared in the first quarter of 2012, but from April to date it has shown a steady decline of 11.6%, 6.9%, 11.3% and 19.2%, respectively.
Meanwhile, Colon Container Terminal (CCT) is the fastest growing port in percentage terms up until July this year, recording 16.9% compared to the same period in 2010.
PSA Panama, the second port on the Pacific, located in Rodman, that has now begun operations, has accumulated a movement of 40,118 TEUs.
Traditionally the coming months should pick up the movement of cargo through the port system because the high season of shipping leading up to Christmas starts, but if there is no improvement in these volumes the growth rate will probably be even lower, or in the worst case scenario, it would be the second year in the history of privatization to close negatively.
This post is also available in: Spanish