PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 6, 2007 – Leaders from the maritime and shipping industry convened in Savannah, Georgia, for the 3rd Annual China Trade and Logistics Conference. Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Marketing Division Manager Oscar Bazan briefed conference attendees on expansion and maritime trends, including upcoming developments with regard to the waterway’s capacity. The conference also examined the latest logistics and market trends throughout China – the second largest user of the Panama Canal. Organized by the Journal of Commerce and hosted by the Georgia Ports Authority, the conference was held June 4-5, 2007.

During the conference, Mr. Bazan also highlighted initiatives the ACP is undertaking with its Permanent Modernization Program. A more than $1.5 billion investment program, it includes capital improvements and operational measures to increase capacity. Current short-and-medium-term improvements include: modifying the ACP’s booking system to increase the number of daily booking slots; straightening and widening the Gaillard Cut; improving equipment and operation systems, such as updating its tugboat fleet; and, improving reliability and navigational safety.

“In 2008, forecasters predict an estimated 10 to 12 percent growth for trans-Pacific, eastbound trade. As such, demand for the ‘All-Water Route’ (the route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal) will continue to surge. In fact, we will see the millionth transit at the Canal in 2010 or 2011 – several years before the new locks are opened,” said Mr. Bazan. “We will be creative in our efforts to increase capacity at the Canal and continue to provide our customers with a safe, reliable and efficient service. The Canal will remain viable, serving as the funnel for world commerce.”

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 wider ships.

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: www.pancanal.com.