The Panama Canal is being viewed as a possible logistics platform using land that was cleared of explosives left by the US military.
The land covers approximately 900 acres on the west side of the access channel to the new Pacific locks.
This area was contaminated with munitions and explosives that were detonated and the area sanitized and refilled by the Canal enlargement work.
“These areas are a heritage of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), representing a potential for use, such as for logistics and a light industrial park”, said ACP administrator, Jorge Luis Quijano.
The development of logistics centers is presented as an alternative for the thousands of workers who will be laid off after 2014, when the construction of the third set of locks and the Panama Metro are completed.
There is a good road connecting the Bridge of the Americas to the southern end of this area and it has the Centennial Bridge at its north end providing connectivity that is important for the development of these activities, said Quijano.
Although Panama has several logistics tools, such as the Canal, ports and railways, it needs to develop logistics centers and prepare people to work in them.
Experts also argue that there is a need to develop new port infrastructure and study the construction of a new terminal in Corozal, although some argue that these lands near the port of Balboa can be allocated to a logistics park.
It is said that promoting sector development will also bring new revenue to the economy.
“These are issues on which the Canal should consider contributing to bring more value to the connectivity of our country and achieve even better returns in the future without them necessarily coming directly from the Canal transits,” said Quijano.
This activity would result in more business for the maritime cluster and also attract more tonnage to transit the Canal, he said.
It has been learned that there is a Korean car company that wants to install a dock area for parking vehicles and modifying them.
The administrator added that there is already interest in using areas near the ports and the Canal on the west side to store cars and heavy equipment and then distribute it to different parts of the region.
“It is possible that, in particular, the heavy equipment can add value to hardware installation or specialized options to meet specific needs of a market in the region.”
There is said to be a need for logistical areas on the Pacific side, as on the Atlantic Manzanillo International Terminal has an area where some companies, such as Caterpillar, have value added to their equipment and machinery and then send it to another country.
Along with logistics centers, there will be a requirement for trained personnel.
During the last fair Logistics Expo held in Panama, Ruben Berrocal, National Secretary of Science and Technology pointed out that technology is one of the main points requiring special attention.
The creation of an industry of “value-added logistics services” would use cargo volume transiting the Canal to capture more value and generate more employment.
The Agency for Investment and Export Promotion (Proinvex) estimates that the opportunity for value-added logistics services could be between $600 million and $1,000 million of gross domestic product.
This activity would produce more than 30,000 jobs in industries related to logistics by 2020, according to this branch of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The value-added logistics services consist of a variety of activities related to traditional storage, cold storage, sorting and packing, packaging, labeling, personalization, and finishing and final assembly.
Proinvex says that, accordingly, these activities tend to occur at the end of the chain and may be located near a factory, consumer center, or anywhere within the transport chain.
Asked about the development of logistics areas, the president of the Logistics Business Council, Daniel Isaza, said that as an organization it has not seen any terrain, but it is evident that there is a need for an industrial area near Balboa, the biggest port on the Pacific.
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