The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors and Advisory Board met in Shanghai, China, June 11-12 to analyze the progress of expansion and other major projects underway at the Panama Canal. The Advisory Board plays an important role as the Panama Canal strives to best serve global trade and commerce. China is the second largest user of the Panama Canal after the United States.
ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto AlemÃ¡n Zubieta briefed the diverse Advisory Board - composed of business, maritime and trade experts - on key Canal issues, while the groups discussed strategy and current trends in the maritime and shipping industries. The meeting was jointly presided over by Panamanian Minister for Canal Affairs and ACP Board of Directors Chairman Dani Ariel Kuzniecky and Advisory Board Chairman and former Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization William A. O'Neil.
During the meeting, Mr. AlemÃ¡n briefed participants on the Panama Canal. Since the October 22, 2006 referendum that approved the waterway's expansion, the ACP has: assembled an experienced internal team to manage the historic undertaking; hired legal and financial advisors; hosted various conferences to communicate to potential contractors the essential details on the project; and, released some preliminary tenders, such as the tender for the program manager and the tender for the north Pacific channel dry excavation. 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 wider ships.
"This is one of the most exciting times for Panama and the Panama Canal. As we strive to run the Canal as a business - responsible to its customers and shareholders - these meetings provide invaluable insight, dialogue and idea creation. Over the past several years, this group of industry experts has helped us make major decisions. Now, as we run the existing Canal and move forward with expansion, their advice and counsel are of even greater importance," said Mr. AlemÃ¡n.
Also discussed at the meeting was the growing value of the "All-Water Route," the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal and back. Recently released fiscal year 2007 second quarter metrics show a 6.30 percent boost in tonnage and a 4.7 percent jump in total Canal transits. Additionally, members toured the Yanzhang Port, which is the largest cargo port and one of the busiest ports in the world.
The Advisory Board convenes at the request of the Board of Directors to evaluate and discuss issues of importance to the ACP. The group provides its consideration and advice based on recent developments in the maritime industry as well as on related international activities.
In addition to the regularly scheduled meeting of the Advisory Board and the Board of Directors, the ACP also hosted "Panama Day" on June 13 in Shanghai. This conference and exhibition, titled "Opportunities and Services for World Trade," brought more than 200 maritime and trade business leaders together to highlight expansion opportunities.
About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP's Web site: www.pancanal.com. For Panama Canal video, please visit www.thenewsmarket.com/panamacanal.