Panama Canal, Vehicle Carriers Discuss Expansion Program
As part of the permanent dialogue with the shipping industry, a Panama Canal Authority (ACP) delegation headed by Administrator Jorge L. Quijano visited South Korea to hold discussions with the vehicle carrier market segment and obtain feedback on the future toll structure being developed by the ACP that will go in effect upon completion of the Canal Expansion Program.
Canal officials met with the Korea Shipowners’ Association, Hanjin Shipping (117930.KS) and STX Pan Ocean, Ltd. The delegation also met with several vehicle and heavy equipment companies.
“In addition to the discussions about the future toll structure, we also took the opportunity to update our customers on the Expansion Program and other initiatives in operations being undertaken by the ACP to improve our current service and addressing questions about the expanded Canal,” Quijano said.
In addition, Canal officials met with SK Energy and to discuss the new possibilities that the expanded Canal will open to trade of liquefied natural gas (LNGLF) (LNG).
The Panama Canal Administrator held discussions with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) in December 2012. In February 2013, Quijano met with the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) and the International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (Intercargo). The ACP will hold meetings with other market segments in the upcoming months.
In 2012, PC/UMS tonnage for vehicle carrier transits registered 37.7 million, an 8.6% increase from the previous year. This segment's traffic through the Canal remained dynamic, along with the rise of vehicle flows in the main maritime trade routes.
The $5.2 billion (USD) Expansion Program will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double the waterway’s capacity. The Expansion will allow the Panama Canal to satisfy the increasing demand of world maritime trade.