Panama Canal and South Carolina State Ports Renew Alliance

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA), which owns and operates the , have formally renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a three-year term. The reaffirmed alliance will help the two entities better meet their short- and long-term goals and benefit shipping through increased cooperation and information sharing.

The renewal of the MOU with the SCSPA further solidifies the ACP’s commitment to international trade and serves as a model of progress and opportunity. The agreement was first initiated in July 2003.

The area within 60 miles of the of is set to gain more than 20 million square feet of industrial distribution and manufacturing capacity, plus a 1,300-acre logistics center in . Many local and international companies are investing millions of dollars in the state to take advantage of strategic access to efficient seaport facilities, major transportation corridors and access to 60 million consumers within a 500 mile radius.

Areas of collaboration between the ACP and the SCSPA include, among others, joint marketing efforts, exchange of data, market studies, expansion plans, training and technology. This newly extended partnership also will seek to grow the increasingly important “,” the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the . Major products currently traveling through the Panama Canal via include household products, such as furniture, machinery, forest products and consumer goods.

The Panama Canal expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

It was also announced that the is laying the groundwork to prepare for the bigger vessels that will transit the expanded Canal. The has a 45-foot water draft at low water and already handles vessels with drafts of 42 feet and greater.  Post-Panamax ships make routine first-in and last-out calls in .

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