PANAMA CITY, Panama, July 23, 2008 – The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA), which owns and operates the Port of Charleston, have formally renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a three-year term. The reaffirmed alliance will help the two entities better meet their short- and long-term goals and benefit shipping through increased cooperation and information sharing.

The renewal of the MOU with the SCSPA further solidifies the ACP’s commitment to international trade and serves as a model of progress and opportunity. The agreement was first initiated in July 2003.

“Through the renewal of this MOU with the South Carolina State Ports Authority, we are investing in a strong partnership based on close strategic coordination,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “This alliance is grounded in our common mission to provide the best service available to our customers and contribute to the growth in trade and commerce of our respective communities, and the industry, through key modernization projects and improvement.”

The area within 60 miles of the Port of Charleston is set to gain more than 20 million square feet of industrial distribution and manufacturing capacity, plus a 1,300-acre logistics center in Orangeburg County. Many local and international companies are investing millions of dollars in the state to take advantage of strategic access to efficient seaport facilities, major transportation corridors and access to 60 million consumers within a 500 mile radius.

Areas of collaboration between the ACP and the SCSPA include, among others, joint marketing efforts, exchange of data, market studies, expansion plans, training and technology. This newly extended partnership also will seek to grow the increasingly important “All-Water Route,” the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal. Major products currently traveling through the Panama Canal via Charleston include household products, such as furniture, machinery, forest products and consumer goods.

“When you combine Panama’s tremendous role in global trade with Charleston’s world-class productivity, expansion opportunities, navigational advantages and distribution center developments, the importance of this partnership becomes clear,” added SCSPA President and CEO Bernard S. Groseclose Jr.

The Panama Canal expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

Moreover, in anticipating the infrastructure needs of the future, the Port of Charleston is laying the groundwork to prepare for the bigger vessels that will transit the expanded Canal. The Port of Charleston has a 45-foot water draft at low water and already handles vessels with drafts of 42 feet and greater.  Post-Panamax ships make routine first-in and last-out calls in Charleston.

About the South Carolina State Port Authority
Founded in 1942, the South Carolina State Ports Authority owns and operates public marine terminals at two port facilities: the Port of Charleston and the Port of Georgetown. The SCSPA is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors, and its mission is to contribute to the economic development of South Carolina by stimulating waterborne commerce and shipment of freight.

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: http://www.pancanal.com/.