The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) hosted Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper today, during his first official visit to the Republic of Panama.
Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela, ACP Board Chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs Romulo Roux, along with ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta, greeted the Prime Minister and briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the waterway’s historic Expansion Program – which continues to progress on-time and on-budget, to-date.
“We are honored to welcome Prime Minister Harper,” said Alemán Zubieta. “His visit underscores the importance of Panama’s strategic partnership with Canada, and we look forward to increased trade and more opportunities in the years to come, particularly with an expanded Canal.”
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.
The latest ACP trade statistics through July for fiscal year 2009 (October 2008-September 2009) show that more than 5,349,000 long tons transited the Canal originating from Canada, while more than 1,768,000 long tons transited the Canal destined for Canada. Key segments include coal and coke, petroleum and petroleum derivatives, and containers.
Additional highlights from the Prime Minister’s Canal visit included tours of the Miraflores Locks and the Control House.