PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 12, 2009 – The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to encourage economic growth and commercial activity between the two entities. Signed by PRPA Board Chairman John H. Estey and ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the MOU will help generate new business by establishing an agreement to promote the “All-Water Route,” a shipping route from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal.

“The strategic alliance with the Panama Canal Authority will increase job opportunities at our regional ports and attract new business,” says PRPA Board Chairman John H. Estey. “This collaboration aligns with our mission to become one of the most competitive U.S. East Coast seaports and has an increasingly marked contribution to the economic health of the state.”

Under the agreement, which is renewable after two years, PRPA and ACP will conduct joint activities and share best practices. Specific areas of focus will include marketing, research and data interchange, technical advancements and personnel training programs. The agreement demonstrates each organization’s dedication to meeting the anticipated increased levels of international trade.

“The Memorandum of Understanding with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority comes at a critical time in the world economy,” said ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “This agreement highlights our shared goals of improving customer service, increasing service offerings and business opportunities. We look forward to working together for continued trade between Latin America, Asia and the United States.”

In 2008, PRPA cargo transiting the Canal, either on its way to or from its destination, totaled 1,906,343 long tons and represents half of all cargo handled by PRPA. Moreover, this number is up nearly 17,000 long tons from the year before.

Both PRPA and the ACP are working on expansion projects to foster increased trade. PRPA is sponsoring a five- to seven-year project to deepen the Delaware River Main Channel from 40 feet to 45 feet, which will better position the Port to accommodate the next generation of vessels that require deeper drafts. The Panama Canal Expansion Program will build a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity, allowing increased traffic and wider ships. The waterway’s expansion has an expected completion of 2014 and to date, continues to progress on-time and on-budget.

About the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority
The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) is an independent agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged with the management, maintenance, marketing, and promotion of publicly owned port facilities along the Delaware River in Philadelphia, as well as strategic planning throughout the port district. PRPA works with its terminal operators to modernize, expand, and improve its facilities, and to promote those facilities to prospective port users. Port cargoes and the activities they generate are responsible for thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania.

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: