Panama City, Panama June 14, 2006 – Captain Wei Jiafu, President and CEO of China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), recently endorsed the potential Panama Canal expansion, citing that a more modern, competitive, 21st century Canal will benefit the global economy and world trade.

Nearly five percent of total world trade transits the Panama Canal.  Of this trade, 88 percent flows between the United States and Asia.  In a speech given in Panama last month, Captain Wei stated that with the rapid development of China’s economy, the Panama Canal becomes more important as a vital link for China to import and export goods to and from the East Coast of the United States, the Caribbean and the East Coast of South America.

“I fully support this expansion plan. I believe that the expansion of the Canal will enable more ships to utilize the Panama Canal.  It will not only strengthen Panama financially by bringing considerable revenues, promote development of Panama’s maritime industry, and ensure Panama’s position as the regional maritime center, but it will also benefit the growth of regional and world trade,” said Captain Wei.

Captain Wei stated the Canal is possibly at its most critical point in its history, he indicated four major developments as compelling reasons for expansion namely:

  • The Canal will reach full capacity in the coming years;
  • Vessels are increasing steadily in size;
  • Forecasted demand has been studied; and
  • With the proposed expansion, a greater variety of new goods at larger volumes will be able to transit the Canal.

He concluded, to maintain its competitive edge, the Panama Canal’s capacity must be improved.

“COSCO’s fleet not only promotes trade between Asia and the Americas, but also seeks to further its cooperation with the Panama Canal and with the great nation of Panama,” said Captain Wei.

About the Panama Canal Authority

The Panama Canal Authority (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:

The Authority’s responsibility to the Panamanian people is paramount. The Canal belongs to the people and benefits from the Canal should accrue to as many Panamanians as possible. The Authority will plan its future so that it will continually contribute to the economic development and welfare of the citizens of Panama.