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Panama Canal says it did not recover all customers that went to Suez


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Panama Canal says it did not recover all customers that went to Suez

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 17:34


The Panama Canal acknowledged today that there is "a lot of competition" and that it has not yet been able to recover all the customers that went to the Suez Canal when the Egyptian route lowered its tolls considerably.

"At the moment we are talking about a very competitive environment." When we announced the opening date of the expansion (in June 2016), the first thing that Suez did in its container route, which is the segment that competes with us, was to begin to lower the tolls," recalled the administrator of the interoceanic route, Jorge Luis Quijano.

The Egyptian highway, Quijano added, reduced its tolls at first by 35 percent, but then progressively increased the discounts to 65 percent, which is still in force today.

"We have not been able to capture all the ships that were ours before, but this indicates that there are people who want to compete with us," Quijano told reporters on Wednesday.

June marked two years since the opening of the new locks, which were built to help the so-called Neopanamax ships cross, with the capacity to carry up to 14,000 containers.

Container transport continues to be the main business of the canal, but the new locks have allowed the canal to open to other products, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) or large cruise ships, which did not fit into the old complex.

The canal authority estimates it will end this fiscal year, which runs from September 30, 2017 to October 1, 2018, with revenues of $ 3,037.5 million and estimated revenues for fiscal year 2019 of $ 3,239.5 million. 

The administrator assured that the canal can increase its competitiveness by offering more than simple transits of ships and said that several projects are being analyzed to add value to the cargo and the water route.

Those projects include the construction of a logistics park, a port for car assembly and a "bunkering" terminal (fuel supply), as well as the expansion of the tourist offer of the canal and even the construction of a cable car overflowing the locks.

"The opportunities are not only passing boats (...) We have a territory around the canal, which is the heritage of everybody and that can give value to our country and help to complete the income generated by the canal through transit activities," he said.

Around 6 percent of world trade passes through the canal and more than 140 maritime routes and 1,700 ports are connected in 160 different countries.

The United States, which built the route at the beginning of the last century and managed it until December 31, 1999, is the first user of the canal, followed by China.

The administrator of the Panama Canal, Jorge Quijano, participates today in a forum called "Let's take our Canal to the future", in which he will talk about the plans of the interoceanic route.

The Administration of the Panama Canal said that Quijano will speak about "the current situation and the plans of the interoceanic route to continue contributing to the development of the country."

The Panama Canal, where about 6 percent of world trade passes, accumulated $ 1,443.3 million in tolls revenue between last January and July, 9.5 percent more than the $1,317.8 million of the same period of 2017, according to official statistics.

In the past fiscal year, the Canal contributed to the Panamanian treasury the historical figure of $1,650 million, and in the current year it estimates it will deliver $1,659.2 million, according to official information.

The Canal started the operation in June 2016 of its first extension, a mega-work of more than $5,600 million, allowing the passage of ships with triple the load of those passing through the centenary locks.



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