Isthmian Update

Isthmian Update: Credit card woes

Isthmian Update: Customer Service Banking Management of the Panama Bank Superintendence (SBP) received 114 credit cards claims between January and March. In the first quarter of this year the entity recorded 40 complaints of this product, representing 35% of total claims reported up until March 31. Savings accounts, personal loans and mortgages were also listed in the report on complaints.

Changing lanes

Bus drivers of the Penonomé Carriers Union (Utrapep) are unhappy about the operation of inverting lanes on the stretch from Capira to La Chorrera on Sundays and public holidays. The main Utrapep bus station in Penonome, Cocle province was crammed with passengers and although all 75 units in the fleet were operational, they were not able to provide the service properly.

Cuban nightmare

Cuban migrants are awaiting the outcome of talks between the foreign ministries of Panama and Costa Rica, who are in search of an agreement to transfer them from the border between the two countries. Hugo Mendez, governor of Chiriqui, said that currently there are an estimated 2,300 Cubans in hostels and hotels at the entrance of the Millennium in Paso Canoas, David and Gualaca.

Unprepared industry

Panama is the country least interested in integration with other Central American countries, pointed out Ricardo Sotelo, president of the Panama Industrialists Union (SIP). He added that this is because our country is the least prepared within the regional industrial sector to tap into that market, which will expand to 45 million people when integration is achieved.

Destination Panama

A team of German tour operators arrived last week in order to view the tourist offer of Panama. They came on a flight of Lufthansa, the new air route between Frankfurt and Panama, which was inaugurated on March 2. The tour operators checked the facilities offered by the Panamanian destination and examined direct flights and connections with Colombia and Costa Rica, places where Europeans can go as part of their holidays.

Amador Causeway expansion

The expansion of the Amador Causeway recorded an overall completion of 80%. The work is being done by the Panamanian company Ininco at a cost of $66.5 million. It will have nine roundabouts and four viewpoints. Landfill construction was finished and one million cubic meters of material was used. Unlike the current route, the extension will have 110 parking spaces, that will be distributed through the four kilometers of the new section.

Fast bucks

The Superintendence of Securities of Panama has received complaints against the company Principia Financial Group and has proceeded to investigate their activities, according to industry sources. The company is using binary unregulated products, such as “24option” which offers 70% profit in 30 seconds, this being “a very risky investment,” said the source.

New regional headquarters

The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) will have regional headquarters in Panama to strengthen cooperation in public and private projects in the region. This represents a strategic step for this multilateral group confirming the logistical advantages of operating in Panama. The announcement was made during a regular meeting of the the presidency of the group. The current president is the Minister of Economy, Dulcidio De La Guardia, who replaces Colombia’s Finance Minister, Mauricio Cardenas.

German connection

Panama will sign a bilateral agreement with Germany to exchange tax information that will incorporate the Common Reporting Standard of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCDE). This was agreed by President Juan Carlos Varela and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel in a telephone conversation.

Line 2 moves forward

Line 2 of the Panama Metro, which is more than 15% complete began another phase with the construction of the viaduct columns. So far, they have erected three columns of the viaduct located in the green areas of the junction between Domingo Diaz Avenue and the PanAmerican Highway, diagonal to the Hotel Riande at the exit of the South Corridor. There will be 1,294 columns in total, of which 454 will be for the stations and 840 for the viaducts.

Lucky Chinese

The first vessel to transit through the new locks on June 26, was chosen in a draw among the main customers of the Panama Canal and was won by the Chinese Company Costo with a container ship exceeding 9,000 TEUs (20 ft containers). The vessel selected cannot exceed 49 meters wide and 366 meters long. In addition, the maximum draft was up to 12.5 meters. The ship will sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In both locks the transits will take about three hours each, in order to enable the public to appreciate the voyage.

More cars

Year after year, the vehicle fleet in Panama increases dramatically with so many automobiles that for every 3.4 people there is a car. The figure comes from the population estimate of the Comptroller’s Office for 2016, which is around 4,037,000 people. And in the records of the Transit and Land Transport Authority (ATTT), in 2015 alone, there was an increase of 78,000 vehicles that entered the country, amounting to 1,177,069 cars.

More efficiency

Focused on increasing the coverage of electricity demand to 100%, and 70% of the generation sources, the National Secretariat of Energy (SNE) presented the National Energy Plan 2015-2050. In the long-term, the project seeks to promote electricity generated and consumed in the home, increasing renewable generation and activating mechanisms for the efficient use of energy

Who will build Corozal?

Four major port operators from Denmark, the Netherlands, France and Singapore were prequalified in the bidding process for the design, construction and operation of the container transshipment port of Corozal, to be built on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal with an investment of at least $500 million. The four port operators are: APM Terminals (Denmark), Terminal Link (France), PSA International (Singapore) and Terminal Investment Limited (Netherlands), announced the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Popular Panama

Panama ranked seventh in a “list” of countries with the fastest increase in visitor arrivals during 2015 compared with the previous year, according to the British newspaper, The Telegraph, based on figures from the World Tourism Organization (Unwto), an organization that promotes responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Locks are safe

Isthmian Update: The Panama Canal declared inadmissible a case study presented by the Brazilian company Foundation Men of the Sea and the International Federation of Transport Workers (ITF), which irresponsibly put safety into question on transit through the new locks. “The study is not based on mathematical models or physical navigation tests as those usually are in preparation for operations in the expanded Canal. Therefore, there is a lack scientific rigor and credibility”, said Captain Peter Pusztai, training coordinator of pilots for the Panama Canal.

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