Panama still has a window to boost its logistical development


Panama has to hurry to take advantage of the “window” it has left to boost its logistics development, ahead of the automation that will make the multimodal system more competitive in the United States, experts said today.

In a conversation of the Panamanian Association of Supply Chain Executives (APECA), the consultant of the Coordination of the Logistics Cabinet of the Panamanian government, Héctor Mendoza, said that “before 20 years” the use of automation in the distribution of cargo Will be a reality for the multimodal system in the United States, the main competitor of the Panama Canal.

The use of unmanned ground vehicles over long distances will be a reality, which will reduce costs and change the configuration of the global supply chain, something that already applies in short distances DHL in Germany and the mining company Riotinto explores doing with unmanned trains in Their farms, he said.

Panama, he noted, needs to “adapt the use of that technology in its streets in order to take advantage of it.”

For this Panamanian professional, the country still “has a window of opportunity” to boost its logistical development by incorporating investment in infrastructure and training to further “diversify” its platform to “not have eggs in one basket”, given that The United States is the country’s main trading partner and the first user of the waterway.

Panama, this year “had the honor of leaving first in the Logistic Development Index” in Latin America, he recalled, but added that “it is still far away” from the levels of operation of the logistics centers of the first world.

Mendoza outlined the 30-year plan for the Logistics Cabinet, whose strategy, he said, will be presented next Friday.

An executive of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Authority’s Business Development Office, Miguel Arosemena, detailed the entire master plan for logistics development that has been in existence for more than 10 years and the diversification strategy Raises to add value to the cargo that disembarks in its ports.

Arosemena said that following the expanded channel, which opened on June 26, the next step is the boost to projects such as the container port of Corozal, which will be held next February, another one of handling of loading and unloading of vehicles and one Smaller for a barge system to load between the two oceans, accompanied by the development of an industrial center.

All this will be raised on the Pacific slope “to balance supply in the Atlantic”, where there are four ports at the entrance to the canal, he said.

He said that to define the convenience of a light natural gas port will be called in the coming months a tender for an expert to conduct the study.

For the expanded channel, 410 neopanamax ships have already been shipped, 60% of which are loaded with containers, which give meaning to Panama’s “diversification of the business portfolio” so that Panama “is more than a shortcut.”

Meanwhile, the expert Eduardo Casal warned that Panama needs to facilitate the development of public-private partnerships if it wants to bring to reality the investments proposed in its five-year plan by the government of President Juan Carlos Varela.

“We are planning, but when we go to see it financially, we are not doing it, there is no money and that is very nice, the plan will take 20 to 30 years to realize, or we will contract more debt, but this country no longer holds more loans “Said Casal.

He maintained that “you have to think well what you want to do with logistics development, it is not said that the new neopanamax ships are designed to pass without stopping, because the priority is to deliver the cargo to the final consumer as fast as possible.”

In addition, “if an era of protectionism comes from the United States we have to anticipate that there will be a decrease in global cargo movement.”


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