PANAMA CITY, Panama, December 14, 2006 – Panamanian President Martín Torrijos joined the Panama Canal Authority Advisory Board meeting and underscored the Advisory Board’s critical role in ensuring the overall governance, transparency and oversight of the Canal particularly related to the upcoming Canal expansion.

The Advisory Board commended the ACP on the impressive results of the referendum. The Board also applauded the people of Panama for their overwhelming support on the historic referendum and reiterated its support for the project, which will significantly impact both the development of Panama and world maritime trade. The announcement was made by the Advisory Board Chairman, Mr. William A. O’Neil, during the thirteenth Advisory Board meeting.

ACP Board of Directors Chairman and Minister for Canal Affairs, Dr. Ricaurte Vásquez, thanked the Advisory Board for their tremendous support to the Canal and emphasized the importance to Panama that the expansion project was passed through a popular national referendum, a measure that reinforces Panamanian sovereignty and confirms the value of the Canal route. Dr. Vásquez stressed the significance of the project and that it will be integral to Panama’s development.

The Advisory Board meets twice a year with the Board of Directors (once in Panama and the other in a city of importance to world trade) to keep the ACP abreast of maritime industry developments and related activities at the international level. During this meeting, the participants analyzed the international interest in the Panama Canal expansion. Administrator/CEO Alemán Zubieta presented the policies and procedures that will outline the execution of the expansion program, highlighting the mechanisms, comprised in Panama’s Law 28 of 2006, to ensure transparency and accountability throughout the expansion program.

The thirteenth meeting was attended by the following Advisory Board members: William O´Neil, Secretary General Emeritus of the International Maritime Organization (IMO); Salvador Jurado, President of Building Components Group; Dr. Aaron Gellman, Professor of Management and Strategy at the Northwestern University Transportation Center; Philip Embiricos, Director of Embiricos Shipbrokers, member of the BIMCO executive committee and former Intertanko director; Joe R. Reeder, partner of Greenberg Traurig LLP (attorneys at law) and former Panama Canal Commission Board Chairman; Admiral William J. Flanagan, US Navy (Ret), previous Commander In Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and NATO’s Commander-In-Chief, Western Atlantic, and President of Skarven Enterprises Inc.; Flemming R. Jacobs, former President & Chief Executive Officer of Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. Group and maritime consultant based in London, and Dr. Ernst Frankel, Emeritus Professor of Ocean Systems and Professor of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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: