PANAMA CITY, Panama, December 20, 2006 – The French Government honored Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta with its highest distinction – “Ordre national de la Légion d’ honneur” or Legion of Honor – in recognition of Mr. Alemán’s successful management of the world’s most famous waterway. In a ceremony Monday night, December 18, in Panama City, Panama, Secretary General of France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Philippe Faure appointed Mr. Alemán as “Knight” for his outstanding leadership.

“<em>Ordre national de la   Légion d’ honneur” </em>or Legion of Honor“The French government recognizes Mr. Alemán’s perceptiveness and the respect he has developed far beyond the borders of Panama in his task of managing one of the largest waterways in the world,” said Secretary General Faure, who visited Panama for two days. “We are confident in the success of the Panama Canal expansion and Mr. Alemán’s qualities of leadership.”

Established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honor stands as the premier order of France.

It is conferred upon men and women, either French citizens or foreigners, for exceptional achievements in military or civil life.

“I am deeply grateful to the French Government for the distinction. I accept the Legion of Honor on behalf of the ACP’s 9,000 employees who work hard each day to serve world trade and Panama,” said Mr. Alemán. “Perhaps, if not for the vision of Ferdinand de Lesseps, we would not be here today.”

Panamanians voted on October 22, 2006 to expand the Canal, building a third lane of traffic along the waterway through the construction of a new set of locks, which will allow more traffic and double Canal capacity. An expanded Canal will benefit the people of Panama and world trade, maximizing Panama’s strategic location to become the great logistics and transportation hub of the Americas.

Alberto Alemán Zubieta has served as Canal Administrator since 1996.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: