Finance Groups Meet to Discuss Canal Expansion

Thursday, December 13, 2007
After presenting the Expansion Program at key financial centers around the world, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) hosted a two-day workshop on the waterway’s expansion financing in Panama this week. Amid a packed room at the ACP training center, some of the best known global multilateral development banks attended a workshop, held December 11-12, to gain more insight on the project and the ACP’s desire to finance a portion of expansion.

ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta opened the forum with welcome remarks, and senior ACP officials answered questions and conducted presentations outlining various aspects of the expansion. Discussion topics included: market and economic trends, risk management, dredging requirements, workforce development and availability, and the environment.

Representatives from the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and International Finance Corporation attended the two-day event.

“The interest we received from the financial institutions has been strong. We’ve received some very thoughtful questions during the workshop and it’s clear that these banks have a good understanding of the project and the goals we want to accomplish,” said Mr. Alemán. “We look forward to continuing this process to develop the best plan for financing the project.”

In addition to the panel discussions, the ACP provided a tour of the Pacific expansion construction sites for workshop participants.

Since July, the ACP has been approaching financial institutions to determine the most viable financing for the Canal’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.

The ACP continues to weigh all options with regard to financing.

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.

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