With more than 60 percent of Panama Canal traffic originating from or moving to the East Coast of the United States, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced a move to boost U.S.-Asia trade through a strategic alliance with the Dallas NAFTA Trade Corridor Coalition (DNTCC). The DNTCC is working in collaboration with the U.S. Maritime Administration to pursue the development of an agile port system in southern Dallas County to improve the speed and efficiencies of cargo movement between the Port of Dallas and various domestic and international seaports. The ACP-DNTCC alliance will increase cooperation – such as joint marketing – between these two entities and seek to boost trade along the “All-Water Route,” the route from Asia to the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts via the Panama Canal.
The event was highlighted by a formal signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Dallas City Hall by ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and DNTCC Chair and City of Dallas Councilmember Bill Blaydes. By mutual agreement, the ACP/Dallas MOU will continue for one year and will be renewable annually. Also attending the ceremony were: Wayne Middleton
, Mayor of Balch Springs; Adsinar Cajar Bocek, Consul of Panama in Houston; Maurine Dickey, Dallas County Commissioner; among other distinguished Dallas County Commissioners and Councilmembers.
During the past few years, containerized cargo transiting the Panama Canal on the “All-Water Route” has been booming. This is the result of trends in trade, the effective management of traffic along the Canal, the decrease in the time it takes for ships to transit the waterway, and getting goods to market faster.
The DNTCC, which currently includes the City of Dallas, Dallas County and the City of Balch Springs, has implemented an innovative economic development plan recognizing that the Dallas area lies at the crossroads of international trade. This area is ideally located to serve as an inland distribution hub for cargo shipped through the Panama Canal and the Port of Houston. In April 2005, a Memorandum was signed by the Port of Houston Authority, the U.S. Maritime Administration and the City of Dallas to establish Dallas as an inland port for Houston. Other elements to this strategic plan include: expanding the River of Trade Corridor Coalition, developing a linear/foreign/freeport trade zone, establishing an inland port of pre-clearance and constructing a cargo airport.
Specifically, the parties involved may conduct the following: • Joint Marketing Activities to generate new shipping business via promotions, advertising and public relations activities; • Data Sharing to forecast future trade flows and market trends; • Market Studies Exchange that may benefit either party in future product development or business venture; • Sharing of Information Related to Modernization and Improvement projects that serve as a benefit to business and spur increased demand; and • Interchange of advanced technology capabilities and programs.