“The year 2014 is the opportunity for the country to maintain this effect, and we are a maritime power in the Americas,” said Giberto Perez, a member of the Panama Chamber of Shipping.
“We are organizing ourselves very early so that the country and the maritime sector are adequately prepared for the new challenges posed by enlargement of the canal,” said Perez.
It is estimated that the supply of fuel imported for vessels amounts to about 20 million barrels per year. For example, currently only 30% of 14,000 transits through the Canal each year use “bunkering” services in Panama.
The vessels have a very high operating cost, which means that during the time they are in Canal waters they must take on supplies as quickly as possible, said Javier Ortiz, general manager of the Decal fuel terminal.
Currently, the terminals are working to get more capacity and to improve the pumping capacity of barges to supply ships and offer competitive prices. Panama needs to be competitive in price with all ports in the region.
In recent years the sector has invested about one billion dollars in the construction of new facilities and improvements. Besides these developments, the sector also highlights the modernization in the fuel supply to ships.
Ortiz said that the sector is aware of these challenges and is organizing the forum called “Bunkering Industry: Present and Future With the Expanded Canal”, to be held on April 26.
It is important to know the changes that face the maritime sector and in the next forum participants will discuss the current problems and propose the necessary corrective measures for the bunkering industry, one of the main services provided to thousands of vessels transiting the Canal or arriving at the ports, which is at the height of modernization efforts.
This post is also available in: Spanish