PANAMA CITY, Panama, February 12, 2008 – Wrapping up its fifteenth meeting in Panama today, the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Board of Directors briefed the ACP Advisory Board on expansion progress. During the meeting, held in Panama February 11-12, Board members convened to discuss strategy and trends in the shipping industry.

ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta briefed the Advisory Board – composed of global business, maritime and trade experts – on issues regarding Canal operations and the waterway’s historic expansion project. The meeting was jointly presided over by Panamanian Minister for Canal Affairs and ACP Board of Directors Chairman Dani Ariel Kuzniecky and Advisory Board Chairman and former Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization William A. O’Neil.

Mr. Alemán updated the Advisory Board on expansion and sought their counsel and feedback. In particular, he highlighted that the ACP released its request for proposal on the “design-build” contract for the new locks in December. Four global consortia are now moving forward with their bids on what will be the largest and most important project under the $5.25 billion expansion. Proposals are due in the third quarter of this year.

“We are excited about the progress made on our most ambitious undertaking to date. And as the expansion of the waterway moves ahead, we will continue to look to the Advisory Board for their sound judgment and keen advice,” said Mr. Alemán. “We have always valued these meetings, as they offer time for dialogue and strategic planning and create a platform for the exchange of ideas with some of the most well-versed industry insiders.”

Mr. Alemán briefed the Board on expansion financing potential options. Meeting participants also visited the construction work sites where the new access channel to the Pacific locks will be built. Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, doubling capacity and allowing more traffic and longer, wider ships. Outside of expansion, the Board received an overall update on Canal operations and finance.

The Advisory Board meets each year with the Board of Directors to keep the ACP abreast of maritime industry developments and related activities at the international level. The ACP established the Advisory Board to serve as a consultative body for the Canal enterprise to provide guidance and recommendations to the Board of Directors and the Canal administration.

The following Advisory Board members attended the fifteenth meeting:

  • William O’Neil, former Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO)
  • Gerhard Kurz, former President of Seabulk International, Inc. and Mobil Shipping
  • Flemming R. Jacobs, former President and Chief Executive Officer of Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. Group and maritime consultant based in London
  • Albert H. Nahmad, President of the Board of Directors and CEO of Watsco, Inc.
  • Salvador Jurado, President of Building Components Group
  • C. C. Tung, Chairman and CEO of Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. (OOIL)
  • Stephan Schmidheiny, President of AVINA Foundation
  • 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.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

The ACP is the semi-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: For Panama Canal video, please visit