The CEO of the Panama Canal Authority, Jorge Quijano, stated that Colombian ports Cartagena and Buenaventura are the main competitors of Panama, revealed an article of EFE news agency.
During a forum held in the Chamber of Commerce, industry and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP), Quijano regretted that in last decade, while both Colombian terminals have focused on the improvement of infrastructure and capacity, Panama dedicated to the canal’s expansion plans and “felt asleep” in port–related issues.
“These two ports are becoming the largest competitors for Panama, which has an additional difficulty: Panama has no natural export cargo, because we are not a great producing country, as Colombia is,” said the CEO of the Panama Canal Authority.
Cartagena and Buenaventura ports have a total of 7,300 meters of quay, compared with the two Panamanian Pacific ports, which only have 2,064 meters. In order to change this reality, Panama started the Corozal Project, currently under bidding phase, which is going to add another 2,000 meters of quay to the Central American country.
With Corozal, Panama expects to beat Colombia’s port capacity on the Pacific Coast and its first phase will be able to keep 3.2 million containers. The construction will have a minimum cost of $600 million and will be ended in a three years period.
“With the Panama Canal expansion, we will get back part of what was passing through Suez. With the Corozal Project, we want to regain what is passing through Buenaventura and Cartagena,” said Quijano.
Panama, which has just opened the expansion of its canal during last June 26, also competes with other ports of the region such as Lázaro Cárdenas in Mexico and Limón-Moín in Costa Rica.