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Friday, April 18 2014 @ 11:46 AM EDT

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Supports Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 04, 2007 - In his first visit to the Republic of Panama and the Panama Canal on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon accompanied by Panamanian President Martín Torrijos, emphasized his support for the historic Canal expansion and highlighted the importance of the transoceanic waterway in global trade. "This Canal has made a great contribution to the world trade and movement of the international community," the South Korean dignitary wrote in his message as he signed the guestbook at the Miraflores Locks Control House. Mr. Ki-moon toured the Miraflores Locks, where Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta explained the operations of the waterway and described various aspects of the ACP's plan to expand the Canal. Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a third set of locks, which will double capacity and allow the passage of wider and larger ships. "We are honored by the Secretary-General's visit and truly appreciate the support of the international community in our endeavor to expand the waterway and leverage the Canal's strategic location," said Mr. Alemán. "As the world becomes even more interconnected, our goal is to continue to provide efficient, safe and reliable service to our customers and to the maritime industry." (more)
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Business News Americas Interview with Cesar Gazoni

Canal ExpansionBy Stephen Wingrove for Business News Americas - The Panama Canal is one of the most advanced, high-profile engineering projects ever undertaken. For the first time since its construction in 1914, the canal's operators are planning to widen and deepen the 77km-long waterway to accommodate the new generation of ocean-going cargo vessels which navigate the world's seas today. BNamericas spoke to Cesar Gazoni, construction and trade director for Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Suriname at Brazilian engineering and construction giant Camargo Correâ. Gazoni is responsible for coordinating the company's participation in a consortium along with Andrade Gutierrez and Queiroz Galvão aiming to win the rights to restructure the ship canal. BNamericas: Could you provide an outline of the planned Panama Canal expansion project?

Gazoni: The expansion of the Panama Canal basically consists of a number of licenses on work for the widening and the deepening of the existing canal. There is dredging work and the construction of two locks to increase current capacity. (more)

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ACP Releases First Construction Project Tender for Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, May 14, 2007 - On Monday, May 7, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) got one step closer to beginning its historic expansion with the release of the first construction project tender (request for proposal submission) for dry excavation along the north access channel on the Pacific end of the Canal. The Expansion Program adds a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double the tonnage capacity and allow the transit of substantially larger vessels. The North Pacific channel excavation, which will be located west of Pedro Miguel and locks, is the first of five dry excavation projects that will help link the new Post-Panamax Locks on the Pacific end of the Canal to the existing Gaillard Cut and represents approximately 16 percent of the total excavation for the new Pacific Locks Access Channel. The scope of work under the contract will include: the removal of non-classified material and disposal of excavated material at indicated locations, and the construction of new gravel roads and ditches. (more)
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First Major Canal Expansion Contract to be Awarded on 29 June 2007

Canal Expansion By Jessica Tasón for La Critica - The expansion of the Panama Canal is starting. Companies interested in participating in the bidding process have until 29 June 2007 to present their proposals to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) for the first contract for dry excavation of the new locks in the approach to the Pacific side of the canal. The ACP said the work consists of the removal of unexploded ordinance in dumping areas, building an access for electrical lines and to build a new highway, building another new access road of gravel and asphalt, installing grills and drainage culverts, removal and excavation of material in the area of Cerro Paraiso, and the deposit of removed materials in areas designated for the project. This work will all be accomplished on the West shore, between Paraíso, the Pedro Miguel locks and the Corte Culebra on the Pacific Side of the Canal. On 23 May 2007 the ACP will take those interested in the contract to the areas for them to be better oriented on the contract requirements. On 25 May the ACP will hold a meeting to explain the contract requirements. Those interested can buy a package describing the contract requirements on CD for $250.00
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Panama Canal Highlight World Ports Conference

Canal Expansion HOUSTON, May 3, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion project, once completed, "will impact the way transit will move in the future," declared Roberto Aleman Zubieta Thursday at the 25th International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) Conference being held in Houston. Aleman Zubieta, the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, provided the world's port leaders with an update on the status of the project. Aleman Zubieta said the first of several major construction contracts to be awarded will be advertised on the authority's Web site next week. "It is more than just an infrastructure project," said Aleman Zubieta of the expansion that will be completed in 2014, 100 years after the Panama Canal was opened. The expansion will consist of dredging, widening and deepening of existing waterways as well as the designing and building of a third set of canal locks. The current lock dimensions are 110 feet wide and 1,000 feet long. The expanded lock dimensions will be 189 feet wide and 1,400 feet long. The current locks allow for a maximum 4,500-TEU vessel. The new locks will allow up to a 12,000-TEU vessel. (more)
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Panama: Can You Dig It?

Canal Expansion blog.nam.org - The Houston Chronicle profiles the business opportunities offered by the $5.5 billion expansion of the Panama Canal. Bids on the project will be opened in May. More than 600 people from 222 companies hailing from 31 nations attended a March conference in Panama to learn what contracts will be up for bids for this big dig. And officials from at least a half-dozen Houston companies were among the attendees. "Any major company out there that deals with this is going to be involved because it's a huge project," said Armando Deschamps, business development specialist of Houston-based Innovative Hydraulic Designs. "There's a lot of money in this." His company is interested in providing hydraulics for the canal's new set of locks. Deschamps and a Colombian co-worker attended the conference, touring the canal and meeting with potential partners interested in bidding for the project. Jim Wiehage, district manager of piling sales for the Houston office of Pittsburgh-based LB Foster Co., also listened to the presentations. He visits Panama several times a year for other business. "We're a supplier of steel, and there's going to be massive amounts of steel in this project," he said. U.S. business prospects in Panama -- investments that would create good jobs back here in the United States -- would be dramatically improved if Congress were to enact the U.S.-Panama Free Trade Agreement.
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Consortium of local firms to participate in Panama Canal expansion bidding - Brazil

Canal Expansion By Stephen Wingrove for Business News Americas - Brazilian consortium Inter-oceânico is planning to participate in the bidding for works within the US$5.2bn Panama Canal expansion project, Brazilian press reported. The Inter-oceânico consortium is comprised of construction firms Camargo Corrêa, Queiroz Galvão and Andrade Gutierrez. The project is for dredging works and the construction of a third set of locks, which will have depths of 18.3m (60ft), allowing for passage of 50ft-draft ships and vessels of up to 12,000 TEUs, doubling the canal's current capacity of 330Mt a year, according to previous reports. "We can enter as competitors in almost all the lots. We won't compete for the dredging works, but in the other areas we have the experience and are eligible," Camargo Corrêa's northern cone director Cesar Gazoni told BNamericas. The Panama Canal authority (ACP) "will not ask the licensed companies to contribute financially," added Gazoni, who is also responsible for Camargo Corrêa's part in the consortium. International competition in the bidding rounds is expected to be fierce for what is considered one of the region's most significant engineering projects. It is believed that construction companies such as Vinci, Hochtief, Bilfinger, Bouygues, Bechtel, OHL, Dragados and Mitsubishi will present bids. (more)
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Germany, Britain, for Bigger Panama Canal

Canal Expansion Panama, Apr 18 (Prensa Latina) Top ranking officials from Germany and Great Britain visit Panama on Wednesday to analyze with the national authorities bilateral issues and the extension project of the Panama Canal. Germany Foreign Affairs Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, arrived in this capital last night and was received by Foreign Minister Ricardo Duran. The visitor will meet his Panamanian counterpart Samuel Lewis Navarro to tackle the association agreement with the European Union and Central America. Steimeier also emphasized the promotion of trade, investments and the construction of a third set of locks for the Canal, an initiative estimated at 5.25 billion dollars. Also in Panama is the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Secretary, Lord David Triesman who will also meet Lewis to tackle extradition agreements, technical cooperation and promotion and protection of investments. The British businessmen are interested in the extension of Panama Canal, in the maritime sector, logistics, transportation and telecommunications, added the text.
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ACP Selects Shearman & Sterling LLP as Legal Advisor for Canal Expansion

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, April 9, 2007 - The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) announced today that it has selected Shearman & Sterling LLP as its international legal advisor for its expansion financing needs. The top-tier global firm will work closely with the ACP and its financial advisor, Mizuho Corporate Bank, to determine the most advantageous financing options for the ACP. The decision followed an evaluation of proposals frm several world-class firms specializing in the financing of international infrastructure projects. Shearman & Sterling joins Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP, the law firm selected to advise the ACP in the procurement and contracting aspects for the Expansion Program. "Shearman & Sterling distinguishes itself as a market leader in infrastructure financing," said ACP Engineering and Programs Management Director Jorge Quijano. "Shearman & Sterling's project development and finance group enjoys a strong global reputation, especially in Latin America. We look forward to working with them as we develop the best plan to satisfy the ACP's financing needs." The significance of the Panama Canal and its function in the global supply chain becomes increasingly important as the world becomes more interconnected. The waterway lies within a critical area where trade routes intersect. (more)
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The Expansion of the Panama Canal

Canal Expansion On 22 October 2006 the citizens of Panama voted to expand the Panama Canal to allow for more transits and bigger ships. The Panama Canal Authority has started to execute the project and is following a comprehensive plan that will take eight years to complete at a cost of $5.25 billion dollars. While this is a subject of tremendous importance to the Republic of Panama and its people, the international maritime industry will benefit directly from the expansion through lower shipping costs, and global consumers will eventually benefit from the greater capacity and efficiency of the Panama Canal. The articles in this section document the details of the construction of the Panama Canal expansion project as it is executed. Articles are added to this section as with the most recent information on top and older articles pushed toward down and into the following pages. If you require additional information about this subject or anything else about the Republic of Panama please take advantage of our search engine. And if you still can't find what you're looking for we also take requests! Welcome aboard, and please remember to tell your friends about Panama-Guide.com, the #1 English Language Website about the Republic of Panama.
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Panama Canal - the Great Meeting Place

Canal Expansion By by Nancy Knudsen for sail.world.com - 'Jittery Skipper' There’s a constant buzz in the air in this huge harbour on the eastern side of the Panama Canal - the grand meeting place of everything from giant container ships to tiny sailing boats. Unless you are prepared to round Cape Horn the ‘wrong way’ against the wind and currents, then there’s no escape – transit the Panama Canal you must! You can easily recognise the boats on the verge of going through – their skippers are chewing their fingernails, there are four husky extra crew on board, and they are garlanded with old car tyres, protection from a potential collision with the concrete wall of a lock. (The Canal also collects US$850 security in case we scratch their concrete) . We wave goodbye daily to these boats as you would to someone off to the dentist (glad it’s not MY turn) – ‘Bye, bye, have fun!’ we shout insincerely. For yachts intending to cross the Pacific, this is the season to be commencing the voyage, before the winds turn westerly, usually in May. However, the route to the Galapagos falls right across the path of the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, or the Doldrums), so the balancing act is to try to wait for it to move north, which it is also supposed to do about this time of year) without delaying so long you get the westerly winds. Sound complicated? If you get wrong you just might have to motor for 1000 miles! (more)
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Firms Eye Billions in Expansion Work at Panama Canal

Canal Expansion By C.J. Schexnayder in Panama for ENR.com - Global interest is strong in Panama Canal's $5-billion expansion. The Panama Canal Authority on March 9 provided a rough bid timeline for the $5.2-billion expansion of the canal. The contracts will include dredging on both ends, dry excavation of the new Pacific-side channel and two new sets of locks. The authority plans to award a project management contract by May. Some 600 representatives from 222 firms and 34 countries attended the three-day Panama City conference. But the authority’s maritime operations director, Jorge Quijano, noted that the information presented was not legally binding since it was not part of the formal bid process. A $5.2-billion expansion of the 50-mile-long waterway was green-lighted by voters last year. The whole project is to be completed by 2014, just in time for the canal’s 100th birthday. The canal, currently operating at about 94% capacity, cannot currently handle post-Panamax ships that are up to 55 meters across and 427 m long. The expansion program kicked into high gear in recent weeks following the approval of a new toll structure by the canal authority’s board of directors in February. The new toll will take effect following an open consultation process expected to last through March. (more)
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Panama Canal May Resist Shipowner Calls to Delay Toll Increase

Canal Expansion By Grant Smith (Bloomberg) -- The Panama Canal will probably resist calls from shipping lines to spread out proposed toll increases, threatening profits for companies such as A.P. Moeller Maersk and Evergreen Marine Corp., analysts said. The Panama Canal Authority, or ACP, has received 21 submissions from companies and groups seeking to reduce or delay the new tariff system, according to its Web site. The authority plans to raise fees by as much as 47 percent over three years to pay for expanding the 92-year-old waterway, the world's busiest, handling about 5 percent of global trade. Evergreen Marine Corp., CMA CGM SA and Wallenius AB are among owners who presented to the authority last week, according to the London-based International Chamber of Shipping. Higher fees may further hurt container lines currently experiencing low rates as a result of surplus ship supplies. ``I don't think they'll have any success,'' said Steven Brooker, an analyst in Copenhagen covering Maersk, the world's biggest shipping company. ``The canal authority would want to have the cash so that they can pay for the expansion, so why would they take the risk'' of waiting any longer, he said. (more)
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At the Panama Canal, Alarm Bells Sound Over Toll Increase

Canal Expansion ENR.com - As the Panama Canal Authority moves forward with its ambitious $5.25-billion plan to upgrade the historic waterway, there are growing concerns about who will pay for the project. On Wednesday, authority — known by its Spanish-language acronym, ACP — held a public hearing Panama concerning the proposal to restructure the Panama Canal's pricing system and certain regulations. The authority's board of directors approved the new tolls last month and it will be submitted to the Cabinet Council of the Republic of Panama for approval in the next few weeks. But the representatives of shipping companies that attended the hearing voiced a strong displeasure at the increases, which work out to an average increase of 10 per cent per year for three years. The Singapore Shipping Association, which represents close to 300 members of Singapore's shipowning and wider shipping community, urged the canal authority to rethink the toll increase and to spread it over a "more realistic timeframe." "Such an increase will only exacerbate the current economic pressure which the shipping industry is currently facing and could have negative and unacceptable consequences on the world economy," said the association's president S.S. Teo in a statement released immediately after the hearing. He said the shipping industry is alarmed at the decision to double tolls in the next 20 years, a move that, "fails to answer industry concerns about an equitable distribution of costs between current and future users, and raises questions about the direction of toll increases in the longer term." (more)
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Singapore shipping blasts Panama Canal charges

Canal Expansion (Shipping Times) - Increases in rates could have negative consequences on world economy says SSA. The Singapore Shipping Association has formally prepared a submission to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) concerning its proposal to modify the rules and pricing system for vessels passing through the Panama Canal. The background to this issue stems from a Panamanian referendum in October 2006, where approval was granted for the Panama Canal Authority to expand the Panama Canal through the construction of a third set of locks. Work on the new locks is expected to start in 2007 at an estimated cost of US$5.25 billion, to be funded by graduated toll increases. The ACP had assured the maritime industry that the project – which is expected to conclude by 2014 – will not disrupt traffic through the present Canal. In February 2007, the ACP published the new toll proposals to finance the expansion of the Canal. According to the ACP proposals, new, separate tonnage based toll rates would be introduced for general cargo, dry bulk, tankers and vehicle carriers from 1 May 2007 and for refrigerated vessels and passenger vessels from 1 October 2007. The new toll rates are an increase ranging from 26% - 34% over a three-year period, according to the type of vessel. The impact on container carrying ships will be higher. Tolls are expected to increase by around 47% across the three-year period, with effect from 1 May 2007. This is on top of the previous increases which were part of the phasing in of the new basis of TEU charging. (more)
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Panama Canal Authority Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Changes to Pricing System, Regulations

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, March 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) today held a public hearing in the Ascanio Arosemena Auditorium in Balboa, Panama, on its proposal to restructure the Panama Canal's pricing system and certain regulations. Fourteen representatives from shipping and government participated in this opportunity to express their views. "Today, Panama Canal customers and members of the maritime industry were welcomed to participate in a unique, transparent and open process," said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Aleman Zubieta. "This process, where customers participate as we set new rates, is rare in the business world. We will seriously study the comments made today, as well as the written submissions." Throughout the consultation period (February 2, 2007 - March 12, 2007), the proposal was made available to all interested parties. The ACP received a total of 21 written submissions, in both English and Spanish, from individuals and groups. Prior to the proposal's announcement, informal consultations were conducted by the ACP with customers and the maritime industry to listen and receive their inputs.
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Panama Canal Toll Increases May Further Squeeze Lines' Profits

Canal Expansion By Kyunghee Park (Bloomberg) -- The Panama Canal Authority's plan to raise its fees may further squeeze shipping lines' profits, according to the Singapore Shipping Association, which represents 289 companies registered in the city-state. ``Such an increase will only exacerbate the current economic pressure which the shipping industry is currently facing,'' S.S. Teo, president of the association, said in an e-mailed statement today. It may also ``have negative and unacceptable consequences on the world economy,'' added Teo, who's also managing director of Pacific International Lines Pte., Singapore's second-biggest container line. The canal authority plans to raise fees by as much as 47 percent over three years to pay for expanding the 92-year-old waterway, which handles about 5 percent of world trade. Higher fees may further squeeze profits for shipping lines, already suffering from low rates caused by increasing capacity. (more)
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Shipping Groups Lobby Over Panama Toll Increases, Lloyd's Says

Canal Expansion By Alaric Nightingale (Bloomberg) -- Trade groups representing oil-tanker operators, container-shipping lines and commodity carriers are lobbying against plans by the Panama Canal to raise transit fees to fund expansion, Lloyd's List reported, citing the person coordinating their campaign. Shippers face tariff increases of as much as 34 percent within three years, the newspaper reported, citing Tony Mason, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping. (Editor's Comment: The Panama Canal Authority will be raising tolls as high as they can in order to pay for the expansion of the Panama Canal. Shippers will have to either pay the tolls, go through the Suez, or find another way to get their stuff to market. In short the guy who runs the toll booth gets to set the tolls, and you either use the road or you don't. It's perfectly natural for users to first complain, and then pass on the costs to consumers. Simple enough. Welcome to Walmart. The cost of that Chinese-made screwdriver just went up $.02 cents. Deal with it.)
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Panama Canal executives brief industry on expansion

Canal Expansion (sandandgravel.com) Panama Canal Authority (ACP) executives briefed maritime industry leaders on the state of the Panama Canal at the Panama Maritime VIII World Conference and Exhibition, held in Panama City, Panama, February 4-7, 2007. Overwhelmingly, the state of the Canal is excellent – with the expansion project at its initial stages, demand for the Canal at unprecedented levels and the value of the Canal and its “All-Water Route” (the route from Asia to the US East Coast via the Panama Canal) at an all-time high. Canal Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta navigated participants through some key decisions the ACP has made since the handover from US administration. In particular, he underscored the benefits of the ACP’s decision to run the Canal like a business. Today, the ACP looks at its “users” as customers who are different with different needs. In 2002, the ACP segmented the market into eight key segments and began offering unique products and services for those markets. Moreover, he outlined capital investments made to enhance reliability and customer service at the Canal. Mr Alemán focused on the need for expansion because the Canal is nearing maximum capacity. He said that during the expansion project there will be no interruption of service with the existing Canal and that the ACP will use some of the same construction areas as the Americans did in 1939, when expansion was stopped because of World War II.
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Panama Canal Authority Releases Fiscal Year 2007 First Quarter Metrics

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Panama, February 28, 2007 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) released first quarter (Q1) operational metrics today for fiscal year 2007. In Q1, there was an increase in net tonnage, total transits and transits of supers (vessels 91 feet or more in beam). No official accidents occurred this quarter. Canal Waters Time (CWT), the average time it takes a vessel to transit the Canal including waiting time for passage, increased, as well as booking slot utilization. These metrics are based on operations from October through December of 2006, the first quarter of the ACP's 2007 fiscal year, and compared to Q1 of fiscal year 2006. Panama Canal/Universal Measurement System (PC/UMS) tonnage increased 11.7 percent – to 79.9 million PC/UMS tons from 71.5 million PC/UMS tons. In addition to a spike in tonnage, the Canal experienced an increase in traffic. Total Canal transits increased eight percent – to 3,568 transits from 3,299. Moreover, transits of supers, larger ships that require greater time and navigation skills to transit the Canal, increased 14.6 percent – to 1,968 transits from 1,718. (more...)
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"Silt Happens" - The Environmental Impact of the Expansion of the Panama Canal

Canal Expansion By Matthew Parker for The Hindu - Fears surface of species migration and water shortages. BUILDING THE Panama Canal, completed in 1914, was described at the time as the "greatest liberty ever taken with nature." Now, work is under way on a massive expansion of the canal, with giant new locks being built at either end of the waterway, as well as huge new channels and a widening of the canal where it cuts through the mountainous Continental Divide. Construction, scheduled to last seven years, is estimated to cost $5.2 billion. But the fact that work has started without a comprehensive environmental impact study being carried out has worried Panamanians. They fear that although their country is among the wettest on the planet, the canal could mean that one day soon they will turn on their taps and out will come dirty, salty water — or even none at all. (more...)
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Chemoil Energy Limited Forms JV to Expand in Panama

Canal Expansion Singapore, 22 February 2007 – Mainboard-listed Chemoil Energy Limited (“Chemoil” or the “Company”), one of the largest and leading integrated physical suppliers of marine fuel products globally, announced that it has entered into a 50-50 joint venture partnership with International Management Holdings, Ltd (“IMH”), a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with an established barging operation in Panama, to establish Belgrave Investors, Corp (“Belgrave”), a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Belgrave will be the holding company for Pacifico Bunkering Services, S.A. (“Pacifico”), which owns and operates the bunker delivery barge – MT Pacifico Trader, in Panama, and will hold 100 percent of the shares of Pacifico. Commenting on the joint venture, Mr Robert V. Chandran, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chemoil said, “Efficient barge delivery systems have been a key driver to our success in the Panama Canal. Through this joint venture, we will control another of our own barges, which we believe will enable us to increase the flexibility of our marine fuel delivery system and more importantly, increase our operating margins in the Panama Canal. The addition of MT Pacifico Trader increases Chemoil’s total barge capacity to approximately 27,000 metric tons in the Panama Canal. We will continue to focus on building our barge delivery systems in Panama as well as other parts of the world in our efforts to further enhance our integrated marine fuel supply chain.”
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Suez Canal to Cut Fees to Lure Traffic Amid Panama Expansion

Canal Expansion By Abeer Allam Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The Suez Canal, the world's busiest waterway, will offer transit-fee discounts to divert Asia-to-U.S. Pacific Ocean trade to the Atlantic via the passage, to boost trade before its rival in Panama completes its expansion. Officials plan to offer the concessions at a Trans-Pacific Maritime Conference hosted by the Port of Long Beach, California, in March, according to Sayed Zakaria, director of the transit department at the Suez Canal Authority. He didn't say how much the rate reductions would be. ``Suez will go East and West to maximize its share of world trade before the Panama Canal improves capacity,'' Zakaria, who heads the Suez delegation, said yesterday via phone from Ismailia, Egypt. ``Yes, we are 10 years ahead of Panama, but we are not sleeping.'' The Asia to U.S. market is the largest U.S. trade lane, and as much as 80 percent of U.S. imports from Asia comes through West Coast ports. According to the Suez Canal Authority, congestion at West Coast ports and rising rail costs will prompt shipping companies to opt for an all-water service to East Coast ports, through the Panama or Suez Canals.
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Good Business

Canal Expansion By Tim Burrack, Board Member, Truth About Trade & Technology - Arlington, IA: The 50-mile system of lakes and locks that connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is about to receive a major upgrade, which is good news for international trade in general and the United States in particular. It’s about time. Although the Panama Canal has undergone occasional improvements since it first opened in 1914, it has never benefited from an actual expansion. That will now change, following the vote of Panamanians last October to build an entirely new set of locks that will allow extra-large ships to cross their narrow isthmus. Anybody who looks at a map of the world can appreciate the rationale for the Panama Canal: Ships that use it save an 8,000-mile trip around the southern tip of South America. I recently returned from a trip to Panama. As a farmer who depends upon rivers and locks in our own country, I know that the Panama Canal is a vital passage. Seeing it in person, however, gave me a newfound appreciation for it as both a marvel of engineering and an economic asset. With the possible exception of the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal is the most important manmade waterway on the planet. Four percent of all world trade passes through it. That may not sound like much, but consider what it means to the United States: 11 percent of all our trade relies upon the canal, including 40 percent of all the cargo that travels between Asia and the East Coast. (more)
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Ecuador: price increase Panama Canal not without consequence

Canal Expansion By André van der Wiel for freshplaza.com - Tholen - The 3,5% price increase of the tolls for the Panama Canal will not remain without effect on the Ecuadorian exports to the US and Europe, as 60% of the national exports are transported through the Canal. Therefore, the profitability of many export products will be put under pressure, and this not only applies to Ecuador, but to many exporters on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Pompilio Espinoza, president of the national federation of banana growers in Ecuador, however, trusts that this will remain a matter for banana exporters and not of growers, as they may expect a minimum price of 3,5 dollar per box as it is dictated by law, while they only grow the bananas and do not export them.
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Singaporean company wants to build port in Panama

Canal Expansion (Monsters & Critics.com) Panama City - Singaporean company PSA International wants to build a port to handle containers in an area of Panama's Pacific coast adjoining the Panama Canal, the Central American country's trade minister confirmed Monday. Panamanian Trade and Industry Minister Alejandro Ferrer said in a press conference that the country's government will evaluate the technical aspects of the project once PSA International provides the details. The plan would use land that was formerly part of the Rodman US Naval Base. Ferrer's announcement caused surprise in Panama's economic circles, because the installation of a mega-port on the western entrance of the canal has already been approved. However, the minister hinted that both investments on the Pacific coast could complement each other, and he stressed that all initiatives will be properly evaluated. Until now, the British company P&O Ports, Japan's NYK, the United States' Stevedores Services of America SSA, Denmark's APM Terminals and the United Arab Emirates' DPA have shown an interest in participating in the mega-port, which would involve an investment of 600 million dollars. Ferrer said PSA International's project consolidates Panama's position as the main centre for logistics in Latin America and as the most important cargo-distribution centre in the world. PSA International is one of the most important companies in its sector and annually handles over 50 million tonnes of TEU (twenty- foot equivalent unit). In a referendum in October, Panama voted to add a third set of locks to the two existing in its canal to allow two-way traffic, accommodate larger ships and almost double the tonnage that can be carried the canal. The construction is projected to cost around 5.25 billion dollars and would be scheduled for completion by 2015.
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Mizuho Corporate Bank selected as Panama Canal's financial adviser

Canal Expansion (Kyodo) - The Panama Canal Authority said Wednesday it has selected Mizuho Corporate Bank as its financial adviser to procure funds for its canal expansion plan. The Panamanian governmental agency said the selection was made fm among bids by 15 financial institutions -- in the United States, Europe and Japan. The contract is for the Panama Canal's expansion plan that was approved in a national referendum in October. The enlargement is aimed at coping with the recent trend of building bigger freighters. With an expected $5.25 billion investment, the construction work is scheduled to conclude in 2014.
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Panama Canal: Proposed regulations & pricing changes

Canal Expansion (Portworld.com) On January 25, 2007, the Panama Canal Authority's (ACP) Board of Directors approved the presentation of a formal proposal to modify the Canal's regulations and pricing. The ACP proposes the modification of Canal regulations and pricing as follows: MAXIMUM DISPLACEMENT DRAFT vs. ARRIVAL DRAFT The ACP is proposing a change for vessels charged based on their displacement to simplify and streamline the process. The Canal proposed that the charge be based upon the maximum displacement instead of the arrival draft. PASSENGER VESSELS: The ACP is proposing an assessment of tolls based on maximum berth capacity. In general, under this change, large vessels will be charged tolls on a per berth basis, and smaller ships will continue under the Canal tonnage system. These changes are largely due to suggestions from industry representatives and evidence another example of the ACP listening to the industry. TOLLS: The ACP is aware of shipping operators' need of greater stability in the Panama Canal tolls; therefore, this proposal provides advance pricing to 2009. The ACP is initiating a public consultation and hearing process so that interested parties may participate and submit data, opinions, written statements, regarding the proposal, in English or Spanish no later than March 12, 2007, at 4:15pm local time. On March 14, 2007, a public hearing on the proposal will be held.The request to participate in the public hearing must be received in writing, either in English or Spanish, delivered either personally, via courier or by mail no later than March 12, 2007, at 4:15pm local time.
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Panama Canal authority proposes more increases in transit fees to help fund expansion

Canal Expansion The Associated Press PANAMA CITY, Panama: The Panama Canal Authority announced on Friday a proposal to increase transit fees for freight vessels by an additional one-third to help pay for the ambitious expansion plan for the waterway. Fees on each freight container shipped through the canal already are scheduled to increase on May 1 to US$54 (€41.50) from US$49 (€37.60). Under the new proposal, which still must be submitted to a public-comment period, the price per container would rise to US$63 (€48.40) in May 2008 and US$72 (€55.30) in 2009. In October, voters in Panama overwhelmingly approved a US$5.25 billion (€4.03 billion) expansion of the canal to handle modern container ships, cruise liners and tankers that are too large for its current 108-foot-wide locks. The plan, which would build a third set of locks on the Pacific and Atlantic ends by 2015, is the largest modernization in the 92-year history of the waterway. The public comment period will last through March 12, after which the board of the canal authority will decide whether to adopt the fee schedule. No date has been set for that decision. Container ships are the single largest source of income for the canal, with about 40 percent of fees. Similar increases would be levied on vessels carrying passengers, bulk, refrigerated or other cargo based on volume or number.
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ACP Changing Toll Rates

Canal Expansion PANAMA CITY, Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 25, 2007, the Panama Canal Authority's (ACP) Board of Directors gave authorization to proceed with a formal proposal to restructure the Canal's pricing system and certain regulations. The proposal was officially published today and can be accessed at http://www.pancanal.com. Value of the Panama Canal - As the world becomes more interconnected -- barriers dropping, tariffs reduced -- the significance of the Panama Canal and its function in the global supply chain become more important. Shippers moving goods from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asia can save up to 10 voyage days via the Panama Canal, and vessels traveling from the West Coast of South America to the U.S. East Coast shave an estimated eight to 16 voyage days compared to alternative routes. Given the cost increases in shipbuilding, fuel and vessel operations, the route through the Panama Canal has significantly increased its value to its users. (more)
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