The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) recently hosted members of the Soy Transportation Coalition (STC) during a visit to tour Canal facilities and participate in briefings with ACP executives earlier this month.
Approximately 80 soybean producers and representatives from 13 soybean producing states attended from the U.S.-based coalition. Together, STC members encompass 85 percent of total soybean production in the United States.
Ilya Marotta, ACP Executive Vice President of Engineering and Program Management and Maria Eugenia Sanchez, ACP Senior Trade Analyst from the Division of Economic Analysis and Market Research, spoke with the STC about the current market outlook of the Panama Canal and its Expansion Program following the record cargo tonnage it welcomed in fiscal year 2015.
“We are proud to host the Soy Transportation Coalition,” added Panama Canal Authority Administrator and CEO Jorge L. Quijano
. “We look forward to continuing to service the soybean industry and all of our valued customers with reliable service for years to come.”
Mike Steenhoek, STC Executive Director, emphasized the impact the Canal Expansion would have on the goals of his organization, which aims to help increase efficiencies in the transportation of soy and the overall competitiveness of the industry in international markets.
Currently, soybean shipments from U.S. Gulf ports to Asia contribute substantially to the total grain flows which pass through the waterway each year. Of the record total 52.3 million long tons of cargo that transited the Canal in fiscal year 2015, soybean cargo accounted for 37.2 percent.
The record tonnage represents an increase of 7.6 percent compared to 2014. The growing trend is one the Panama Canal hopes will continue after the opening of the Canal expansion project
—now 95 percent complete.