PANAMA CITY, Panama, July 17, 2006 – The Panama Canal Authority’s (ACP) proposal to expand the Panama Canal is one step closer to becoming reality. On Friday, July 14, Panama’s National Assembly unanimously approved the proposal to expand the Panama Canal. In addition, the Assembly created and passed a law mandating a national referendum in which the people of Panama will vote to approve expansion. The referendum will be held October 22, 2006, the first Sunday 90 days after the legislation is signed.

The National Assembly’s decision was reached after several rounds or “Debates,” including a public hearing. In the last Debate the Assembly voted to approve the proposal and the law mandating a referendum.

“Expansion would be good for Panama, good for the maritime industry, and good for world trade. Now, the decision rests with the Panamanian people,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

The Panama Canal expansion would be the largest project at the Canal since its original construction. The project would double the waterway’s capacity and allow more traffic by creating a new lane through the construction of a new set of locks. An expanded Canal would benefit the people of Panama and world trade, and help maximize Panama’s strategic location to become the great maritime hub of the Americas. Expansion will also increase capacity at one of the world’s critical trade arteries, allowing the vital “All-Water Route” to continue to grow.

About the Panama Canal Authority
The Panama Canal Authority (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:

The Authority’s responsibility to the Panamanian people is paramount. The Canal belongs to the people and benefits from the Canal should accrue to as many Panamanians as possible. The Authority will plan its future so that it will continually contribute to the economic development and welfare of the citizens of Panama.