Panama ports record 10.1% rise in container volumes

Panama ports container volumes plunge 9.1% in 2016

By Jite Eriabie 

The Panama Maritime Authority has released the 2017 statistics of cargo volume handled by ports showing an increase of 10.1% to 6.89m teu, up from 6,27m teu in 2016.

Every terminal registered growth – two of them with double digit- with only PSA-Panama with cargo volume decreasing by 48.4% because of its ongoing expansion to increase capacity to 2m teu. PSA-Panama will begin operation of its expanded terminal in March.

Commenting on the results, Jorge Barakat, Minister of Maritime Affairs said that “the Panamanian port system is seen with greater sustainable development in the coming years.”

On the Atlantic side, Evergreen’s Colon Container Terminal (CCT) posted growth of 10.9% with 701,516 teu, while SSA’s Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) increased volume by 2.6% to 1.88m teu, failing to match its 2015 mark of over 2m teu. Cristobal, administrated by Hutchison’s Panama Ports, saw a growth of 65.2% to 1.31m teu mainly because it benefited from transhipment from the Caribbean in the wake of various hurricanes that damaged the islands.

On the Pacific side, Balboa, also administrated by Hutchison’s Panama Ports registered increase of 2.6% to 2.91m teu. PSA-Panama handled 81,568 teu.

“The increase in moves through Panama’s ports during 2017 appears to have been attributed mainly to the hurricanes in the Caribbean and the need to divert transhipment cargo, specifically from Freeport,” said Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) gm Stacy Hatfield.

“Regarding MIT, there have been a few service realignments already this year that may bring additional cargo. We are only projecting marginal growth in 2018, as more changes and uncertainty is on the horizon. With a current capacity utilisation of only 55%, MIT is ready to receive additional volume,” he added.

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