Panama Canal Authority and North Carolina State Ports Authority Establish PartnershipPanama City, Panama, December 14, 2010 – Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and North Carolina State Ports Authority CEO Thomas J. Eagar signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) during an official ceremony in Panama City, Panama today.

The ACP and the North Carolina State Ports Authority will work together to generate new business through the promotion of the “All-Water Route,” the route between Asia and the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal.

Joint collaboration between the organizations may include marketing activities such as joint press conferences or exhibits at maritime events; exchange of data on the forecasting of future trade trends; information sharing on modernization and improvements to increase customer service; and, joint training seminars.

“Today’s MOU signing reaffirms our staunch commitment to high-quality service and the promotion of the increasingly important ‘All-Water Route’,” said Mr. Alemán Zubieta. “We look forward to establishing a strong alliance with the North Carolina State Ports Authority, which is a strategic U.S. East Coast partner, and sharing best practices to generate new business for both Panama and North Carolina.”

Currently, 65 percent of the container volume at the Port of Wilmington and 60 percent of the breakbulk volume at the Port of Morehead City arrives via the Canal.
“Access to global commerce is critical for North Carolina’s business community. The expansion of the Panama Canal will dramatically alter the maritime transportation system as we know it today by providing liner shipping companies and cargo interests unrestricted access to the U.S. East Coast. This expansion is a game-changer,” said Mr. Eagar.

The Panama Canal is currently undergoing a historic $5.25 billion expansion which will add a new lane of traffic, doubling the capacity of the waterway and allowing for the transit of longer, wider ships.

Improvement projects are underway at North Carolina’s ports. These projects will further North Carolina’s competitive position among major U.S. East Coast ports as a key player in international trade and positively impact job growth and the economy of the state.

The enhancement and improvement initiatives will help jointly ensure safe, reliable and efficient service for a new era of post-Panamax ships.

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 visit www.pancanal.com. You can also follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/thepanamacanal.

About the North Carolina State Ports Authority
North Carolina’s Ports in Wilmington and Morehead City, plus inland terminals in Charlotte and the Piedmont Triad in Greensboro, link the State’s consumers, businesses and industry to world markets, and serve as magnets to attract new business and industry. Port activities contribute statewide to 85,000 jobs and $299 million each year in state and local tax revenues. www.ncports.com.