Containerised cargo moved by Panamanian ports fell 9.1% in 2016, the first time such a decrease has been recorded since the 2008 – 2009 economic crisis.
Panama ports reported total container volumes of 6.26m TEU for last year 6.89m TEU a year earlier with all terminals registering a decline.
The fall in volumes reflects a downturn in transhipment which has been a general trend in the region.
Two terminals posted double digit decreases; Evergreen’s Colon Container Terminal [CCT] on the Atlantic side fell by 19.9% to 632,845 TEU while on the Pacific side, PSA International-Panama was 26.9% below last year with 157,967 TEU. The terminal is undergoing expansion that will double its capacity.
Also on the Pacific side, Balboa saw a fall of 8% to 2.83m TEU, while Cristobal on the Atlantic decreased by 2.3% to 793,941 TEU having gained new services. Both terminals are administrated by Hutchison. Manzanillo International Terminal [MIT], on the Atlantic, fell 7.3% to 1.83m TEU.
However, some terminals posted slight growth in the last quarter of 2016 in particular MIT, Cristobal and Balboa.
“2017 will be a period of transition in the maritime business on a global level, and above all with many changes in Latin America. New alliances and acquisitions in the sector of shipping lines; new terminals entering into operation and others in the process of completing their construction; and a lot of competition for the transhipment cargo will make the year of the rooster very ‘challenging’,” said Carlos Urriola, president of SSA International parent company of Seattle-based Carrix.
SSA International operates ports in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Vietnam, Haiti and Puerto Rico with its flagship terminal in Panama, Manzanillo International Terminal-Panama [MIT].