PANAMA CITY, Panama, September 13, 2011 – In what is touted to be another one of a series of new agreements with U.S. ports, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and Port Freeport in Texas established a strategic alliance today with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The partnership aims to increase international trade and create new business by promoting the all-water-route between Asia and the Gulf of Mexico of the United States through Port Freeport via the Panama Canal. Intended to last for one year, the partnership is renewable upon request of both parties. Under the conditions of the MOU, the parties have agreed to undertake joint initiatives to stimulate economic growth. Together, they will work on joint marketing efforts and information exchange. The MOU permits the parties to share information on subjects of interest, market study research, information on modernization and improvements, training programs and technological capabilities.

“The relationship we’ve established with Port Freeport will further our efforts to provide superior ocean access to accommodate the demand for international cargo through our region,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “This will improve navigational traffic and safety and allow the port to accommodate the next generations of larger cargo vessels.”

Located just three miles from deep water, Port Freeport is one of the most accessible ports on the Gulf Coast. Currently ranking 16th among U.S. ports in international cargo tonnage handled, the central Texas location offers efficient transportation via highway, railroad or intercoastal waterway. The 400-foot-wide, 45-foot-deep channel ensures a fast, safe turnaround. Port Freeport’s new Velasco Terminal, an 800,000 teu / multipurpose facility is scheduled to open phase one in the fall of 2012.

“This partnership was perfect for each of us because we are both interested in investing in infrastructure and growth. We each are building new facilities at a time when others are standing on the sidelines so it is only natural that we assist each other in the promotion of international trade in this hemisphere.” This partnership is a win, win, for each of us.” said Pete Reixach CEO of Port Freeport”

The Canal’s expansion is on schedule, following the recent commencement of the permanent concrete work for the new locks. The $5.25 billion project includes the construction of a new set of locks that will allow the transit of longer and wider ships.