Isthmian Update

Some of the news in Panama

CFZ business down

In March 2013 the business of the Colon Free Zone (CFZ) reflects a contraction of 11.4%. According to statistics for the period from January to March there was business done for $6.58 billion, which is $847.4 million less than what was achieved in the same period during 2012 ($7.43 billion). Just in the month of March, the downturn was 23%.

Rain strain

A power rationing order will be made by the National Energy Secretariat if, in the next 15 days, it does not start to rain. This was confirmed earlier this week by the general manager of the Electricity Transmission Company SA (ETESA), Fernando Marciscano, who explained that he reported to the Secretariat and the National Authority of Public Services (ASEP) on “rationing in the near future if rains do not start.” This is because levels of the Bayano and Fortuna reservoirs are low. The National Civil Protection System (SINAPROC) signed a declaration of emergency for Los Santos, Herrera, Veraguas, Cocle, Panama and Chiriquí because of drought and severe water shortages.

Cruise lines eye Bocas

“There are regional cruise companies looking at the possibility of including Bocas del Toro in their itineraries,” revealed Ernesto Orillac, vice minister of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP). Orillac did not mention the names of the cruise companies because of the confidentiality provisions of the negotiations. He reported that the ATP ordered bathymetry studies (sea depth) to see what would be the best location for a cruise port on Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro.

Canal could see 60% growth

According to the weekly shipping newspaper The Bulletin, the Panama Canal could achieve a movement of 521 million tons in 2025, representing growth of 62% in 12 years or so, according to projections by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). “It is not easy to make these projections because the expansion of the Canal and post-Panamax vessels will create many things that are still difficult to predict,” said the economist Nicolas Ardito Barletta at the Latin American Business Forum. According to expert views, this implies that port activity, which reached 6.9 million TEUs last year could be handling some 20 to 24 million containers for transit through Panama in 2025

Pressure to stop elimination

of bearer shares

The Minister of Economy and Finance, Frank De Lima, said this week that there was pressure from the people who are against the proposed elimination of bearer shares to stop the debate in the National Assembly.

Humans in cargo containers

The director of the Panama Customs Authority, Virna Luque, alerted that criminal organizations involved in human trafficking are diversifying their ways to mobilize the victims, now using the transport of cargo containers for this illegal activity.