PANAMA CITY, Panama, August 19, 2008 – Today, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Port of Houston Authority (PHA) announced a continuation of their strategic alliance through a three-year renewal of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). First signed in 2003, the partnership provides economic and trade benefits to both regions. The two entities will continue to conduct joint marketing, share information and bolster technological interchanges.

“The Port of Houston is a critical U.S. port and key maritime partner. Today’s renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of Houston Authority illustrates our commitment to quality service and meeting the demands of an ever-changing and increasingly globalized maritime community. New multifaceted challenges require bold action and strong partnerships,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

One of the most vibrant and rapidly developing maritime trade hubs, the Port of Houston ranks first in the United States in foreign waterborne tonnage and second in total tonnage. From 2003 to 2007, general trade tonnage at the Port, including petroleum and petroleum products, increased almost 500 percent, resulting in a total trade growth of 97 percent (in U.S. dollar value).

“Our friendship with Panama becomes closer every year,” said PHA Executive Director H. Thomas Kornegay. “The Canal expansion is vital to U.S. trade with not only Asia, but the entire Southern Hemisphere. And as trade continues to expand between Houston and Panama, the bonds that connect us will grow even stronger.”

As the Panama Canal continues to undergo its historic expansion, the ACP and the PHA look forward to increased growth of the “All-Water Route” (the route from Asia to the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts via the Panama Canal) – an economic driver for both the Canal and the port.

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.

About the Port of Houston Authority (PHA)
The PHA owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo and other types of cargo. The Port Authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston’s development as a center of international trade. The seven-member Port of Houston Commission is the governing body for the PHA.

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/.