PANAMA CITY, Panama, June 04, 2007 – In his first visit to the Republic of Panama and the Panama Canal on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon accompanied by Panamanian President Martín Torrijos, emphasized his support for the historic Canal expansion and highlighted the importance of the transoceanic waterway in global trade.

“This Canal has made a great contribution to the world trade and movement of the international community,” the South Korean dignitary wrote in his message as he signed the guestbook at the Miraflores Locks Control House.

Bna Ki-moon, Pres. Torrijos and Alberto AlemánMr. Ki-moon toured the Miraflores Locks, where Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta explained the operations of the waterway and described various aspects of the ACP’s plan to expand the Canal. Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a third set of locks, which will double capacity and allow the passage of wider and larger ships.

“We are honored by the Secretary-General’s visit and truly appreciate the support of the international community in our endeavor to expand the waterway and leverage the Canal’s strategic location,” said Mr. Alemán. “As the world becomes even more interconnected, our goal is to continue to provide efficient, safe and reliable service to our customers and to the maritime industry.”

The eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ki-moon indicated that he was “very impressed with the effective operation of the Panama Canal.”

He added, “I sincerely hope that this project, under the leadership of President Martín Torrijos, will result in great success by 2014.”

The U.N. Secretary-General also had the opportunity to try his hand at operating the system of opening and closing of the lock gates for the Holland vessel “Dockwise,” which was in transit from Costa Rica to Florida.

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: