In what is considered excellent news in the midst of global financial uncertainty and a sign of confidence in the economic achievements of the Government of Panama and the management of the Panama Canal, the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) board of directors approved a $400 million loan offer to help finance the historic Panama Canal Expansion Program.

“We are very pleased with the decision of the IDB board to offer financing for the Panama Canal Expansion Program. This signifies that Panama and the Canal are on the right track. As a country, we have laid the foundation that helps to make expansion possible. This also reinforces the Bank’s trust and confidence in the Panama Canal Authority,” said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

Two weeks ago in Washington, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno emphasized that Panama has achieved impressive economic growth and performance. This has made it possible for the country to undertake the historic expansion of the Canal. Moreno also highlighted the sound financial management and technical quality of the Panama Canal Expansion Program, which has helped the IDB in considering financing the said project.

Recently, the ACP received its first-ever investment grade rating. Moody’s Investors Services, one of the world’s top credit rating agencies, gave the ACP an A1 as a government-related issuer, and a prospective A2 investment grade for the possible $2.3 billion financing for the expansion project – thus reaffirming Panama’s growing presence in the global marketplace.

Since July 2007, the ACP has been approaching financial institutions to determine the most viable financing for the waterway’s Expansion Program. The process began in Panama and continued with presentations to a number of financial institutions in New York, Washington, Hong Kong and London.