Awarded Long-Term Concession to Operate Storage Facilities in Ports Located at Each End of the Panama Canal; Company Plans to Commence Physical Supply Operations in Panama by the End of Q2 2011
PIRAEUS, Greece, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. (NYSE: ANW) today announced it has been awarded a 20-year concession by the Panamanian Maritime Authority (PMA) to operate onshore storage facilities in the ports of Cristobal and Balboa in Panama on an exclusive basis. The award is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions by the Company and completion of definitive documentation with the appropriate Panamanian authorities. In addition, the Company has been pursuing the necessary approvals and, subject to receipt of such approvals, expects to commence physical supply operations in both Cristobal and Balboa by the end of the second quarter of 2011.
The port of Cristobal and the port of Balboa are strategically positioned at each end of the Panama Canal, a critical conduit for international maritime trade that connects the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean. Both ports total approximately 14,000 transits per year and generate approximately 3 million metric tons of annual marine fuel sales volumes on a combined basis. The concession with Aegean is part of the PMA's efforts to expand and modernize the ports' infrastructure and services consistent with the current expansion of the Panama Canal. By 2014, the Panama Canal is expected to significantly increase its capacity, enabling larger ships to transit and providing greater efficiencies in global commerce.
The two onshore storage facilities in Panama currently total approximately 3 million barrels in capacity, with room for expansion, to ensure ample supply of marine fuel. Aegean intends to provide retail bunkering services to all major shipping sectors, particularly containerships, as well as leading cruise lines, in port and at sea after receiving the necessary licenses by the local authorities.
E. Nikolas Tavlarios, President, commented, "We are excited to have been awarded a long-term concession in Panama, a landmark event for our Company that is testament to Aegean's global brand recognition and balance sheet strength. By establishing a presence on both ends of the world's most famous canal, Aegean has significantly expanded its network for the global supply of marine fuel and strengthened its future growth prospects. We expect to realize numerous benefits from Panama's increasing role in global maritime trade in light of the projected expansion of the Panama Canal. The growing Panama market combined with the sizeable onshore storage capacity in the ports of Cristobal and Balboa position Aegean well to continue to meet the strong demand for its integrated services and profitably increase sales volumes. Consistent with our goal to further strengthen Aegean's geographical sales mix and drive future results, we remain on track to enter at least one more start-up market with attractive growth potential in 2011."