Port of Vacamonte keeps growing, By Denisse González
Since its opening in August 1979 by the former National Port Authority,
today the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), the Port of Vacamonte has developed as the most important fishing port of Panama. The port has facilities for processing plant operations and areas such as the marginal wharf and pier operated by international companies. Within the port area today there are 40 companies or concessionaires operating, including Avipac, Astillero Nacional, CIA de
Mariscos Islas de las Perlas, Redes Koremar S.A, Marina PAC, Mariscos Tropicales, Monakita Holding Corp, and Empacadora Alimenticia S.A. Additionally some 25 shipping agencies operate in Vacamonte including Gianfranco Agency, SA, Ecomundo International Agency, Associated Steamship Agency and Maritima Erminionis. Due to the geographical position of the Isthmus of Panama, with ports such as Vacamonte as an example, the country has the opportunity to develop a series of national ports dedicated not only to containerized cargo handling, but for a variety of other types of commodities for both local and international markets. The 26 Panamanian ports within the National Port System (SPN) are divided into two groups: private ports (7) and state ports (19). The ports have been awarded to private port operators through concessions and the public-sector ports are operated by the State under the AMP administration’s Department of Ports and basically provides berthing services and other related services for domestic users. Vacamonte is administered by the Department of Ports of the AMP and is classified as “A Specialized Port” because of the specific nature of its fishing activities.
Vacamonte is the most important fishing center in the country and is used by a
fleet of about 241 shrimp boats. Its main objective is in processing shrimp and other species. Shrimp has a high demand in US and European markets. This site is also a center of discharge for many other sea species which are then sorted, packed and frozen at the processing plants for international markets. The AMP collects fees for their lighthouses and buoys,
sailing permits, anchoring and lighterage, garbage collection, electricity, dock service, equipment rental of forklifts, and dock space for all users who request it.
Vacamonte is the location of the Astillero Nacional (National Shipyard), a private company with many years working there, which gives construction and repair services for vessels up to 250 tons, including scrapping, reconstruction, painting and hauling vessels in and out of the water. The port service also provides ramps for barges that haul materials and heavy equipment to the islands of Panama Bay or to coastal towns in the province of Darien, an activity done according to the tide level.
This year Vacamonte received in January, 219 ships, February, 135 ships, March, 150, April, 195, May, 253 and June, 268. Fish Movement: In May this year the movement of shrimp amounted to 450,662 lbs, and other species, 362,770 lbs, making a total of 813,432 lbs. In June, shrimp amounted to 557,786 lbs, and other species 437,750 lbs, making a total of 995,536 lbs.
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