December 31, 2009, marked a decade of management of the Panama Canal by Panama. This vital trade artery has long stood as one of the world’s most recognized and respected engineering marvels and a crucial link in the global supply chain. Building on this, the decade of Panamanian stewardship and leadership has been evidenced by change, achievement and growth. By nearly every measure, the Canal’s role in world trade and value to global commerce has increased significantly in the past 10 years.
“Through trade booms and economic recession, the ACP has steadfastly provided excellent service to our customers and world trade,” said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board Chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs Romulo Roux. “After the handover in 1999 and shifting our business model from a profit-neutral utility to a market-oriented business model, we never lost sight of our vision and responsibility to global trade. I believe that has been a key tenet of the Canal’s success.”
After a decade of Panamanian management, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta spoke of his vision for Panama’s hopeful future.
“Reflecting over the past decade, I am proud of what we have achieved,” he said. “Proud of the employees of the ACP, proud of our accomplishments and proud of Panama. We have achieved goals that some thought were daunting and overcome obstacles that, at times, seemed insurmountable.”
Mr. Alemán Zubieta added: “I am honored to have been granted the opportunity to serve along 9,000 hard-working Panamanians, at a time of such importance to Panama and the Canal. Indeed, the accomplishments of the past 10 years give me the confidence to look forward with optimism. We continue to break new ground with the expansion, the largest project since the Canal’s original construction, and we are on track for a 2014 completion. An expanded Canal will open new doors for world trade and growth. And our fundamental mission is clear: the business of the Canal is to provide customers with safe, reliable and efficient service. We take this role seriously and look forward to years of service to come.”
During a December 31 ceremony in Panama to commemorate the anniversary, Panama President Ricardo Martinelli gave the final speech highlighting that the Canal has been managed in a safe, reliable and efficient manner during the past 10 years. He added that “the Canal is a matter of pride not only for Panamanians, but also for the international community.”
President Martinelli raised the Panamanian flag at the Panama Canal Administration Building during the ceremony attended by ACP Board members, Mr. Alemán Zubieta and other officials and noted guests.
Today, the ACP reflects on 10 years of success and will continue to celebrate past and future achievements throughout the year. A sampling of key milestones of the past decade is below. All underscore the ACP’s commitment to serve the maritime industry and world trade.