AMP Approves New Container Shipping Terminal

Miami: The Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) has granted permits to a private development group for the construction and operation of a new container terminal to be built at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal.

Jones Lang LaSalle is acting as development advisor to the project consortium.

With an estimated construction value exceeding $USD 600 million, the Panama Colón Container Port (PCCP) is expected to become one of the largest private maritime infrastructure projects in Panama, and the first terminal to be built on freehold land.

The Panama Canal is undergoing a $USD 5.2 billion expansion to allow greater traffic flow and to accommodate the next generation of "Super Post-Panamax" vessels, named because they exceed the size limitations of the existing canal system. However, numerous ports along the U.S. Eastern and Gulf coasts, South America and the Caribbean do not have the capacity to receive the larger ships.

PCCP is designed to address this, so that Super Post-Panamax and other vessels can transit via the new locks, and transfer their cargo at the new PCCP terminal to and from smaller container ships capable of serving the existing ports of call.

"Transshipment terminals will have a significant impact on the new Panama Canal era," said John Carver, head of Jones Lang LaSalle's Ports Airports and Global Infrastructure (PAGI) group. "Too many seaports do not currently, and may never, have the harbor depth required to take advantage of the trend towards Post and Super-Post Panamax vessels. PCCP is the first terminal to be engineered specifically for the expanded Panama Canal and will provide a critical new link in the global supply chain, further enhancing Panama's already strategic designation as one of the world's primary global transshipment hubs."

Set to break ground in summer 2012, the 4-berth terminal will be capable of handling container vessels up to 18,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and is designed to handle 2 million TEUs in initial throughput with future expansion capability thereafter and offers unique complementary warehousing and logistics facilities. PCCP will complete in conjunction with the opening of the Panama Canal's "Third Set of Locks" expansion project in late 2014.

Jones Lang LaSalle's Project Development Services group will soon begin to administer the bid tender process for the initial dredging and related marine construction elements.

"We expect transshipment terminals such as PCCP to play an integral role in the long-term success of the Panama Canal," said Ricardo Quijano, Panama's Minister of Commerce and Industry. "For such a large infrastructure project to be achievable by the private sector is a testament to Panama's concerted efforts over many years to create a stable and transparent operating environment."

"As a global maritime hub, Panama will continue to make every effort to ensure that industry participants who locate here can enhance their strategic advantages and continue to prosper despite highly competitive global markets. We applaud the efforts of Jones Lang LaSalle and the private sector in working to bring this project to fruition," he added.

As development advisor to the project consortium, Jones Lang LaSalle has gained significant interest from terminal operators and expects PCCP to announce its selected operator later this year.

Carver added, "Clearly, transshipment traffic in Panama, and particularly on the Atlantic side of the Canal, is facing long term capacity constraints. Despite global economic uncertainties, container volumes in Panama have continued to grow at impressive rates and, after 2014, we expect this growth to accelerate further."

"Our discussions with market participants clearly point to the need for a new terminal such as PCCP which is uniquely capable of providing significant blocks of new capacity to the Atlantic transshipment market, together with a variety of integrated logistics, warehousing, and value-added processing facilities," he concluded.