STRATEGIC ALLIANCE SEEKS TO SPUR INVESTMENT, INCREASE TRADE AND PROMOTE THE “ALL-WATER-ROUTE”
PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 18, 2008 – The renewed alliance between the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and the Port of New Orleans – which has recently adopted a 2020 growth Master Plan of $1.04 billion, partially driven by the Canal’s expansion – will help spur investment, increase trade and promote the “All-Water-Route” (the route from Asia to the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts via the Panama Canal).
During an official ceremony yesterday in Panama, ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta reaffirmed the ACP’s commitment to mutual growth and cooperation with Port of New Orleans President and CEO Gary LaGrange and members of the Port’s Board of Commissioners, by renewing a Memorandum of Understanding. Renewable on a three-year basis, the agreement further enforces the strategic alliance between the two entities, which was first initiated in 2003.
“Today’s renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Port of New Orleans underscores our strong economic and commercial bonds. Our common vision informs our strategy and creates new value based on information sharing and collaboration. As we embark on the next phases of the Panama Canal expansion project, we remain committed to providing solutions to the long-term needs of the shipping and maritime community,” said Mr. Alemán Zubieta.
The Port of New Orleans, the only deepwater port in the United States served by six “Class One” railroads (the largest category of freight railroads), has been steadily moving past the Katrina recovery stage and is now looking toward future growth opportunities.
Both the ACP and the Port of New Orleans are dedicated to further increasing capacity and fostering growth. In 2007 alone, roughly 2.5 million short tons of general cargo came to the New Orleans port through the Canal, more than one third of the Port’s general cargo total.
“The Panama Canal is a vital link that connects New Orleans to key trading partners in Asia and along the West Coast of South America. The Panama Canal Authority and the Port of New Orleans are each making substantial investments to improve the flow of commerce along these trade routes,” said Mr. LaGrange.
Port of New Orleans Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Campbell added, “Our continuing partnership with the Panama Canal Authority will allow us to provide shippers with an efficient and cost-effective transportation route.”
The Panama Canal expansion project 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 New Orleans
New Orleans has been a strategic port location since the city was founded near the base of the Mississippi River in 1718. The Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans was established in 1896 to develop and manage public port facilities and to maximize the flow of foreign and domestic waterborne commerce. The board is comprised of seven commissioners appointed by the governor of Louisiana.
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/.