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Panama Canal: Setting the Stage for Modernization at the 2018 PIANC World Congress

Friday, 01 June 2018 | 12:00

Earlier this month, Panama welcomed the world's leading experts in maritime infrastructure to explore the industry's most compelling innovations and celebrate the Panama Canal's lasting influence on global maritime trade.

The 34th World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure (PIANC) 2018 World Congress featured more than 500 specialists at 300 exhibitions examining ways to sustain and improve key infrastructure issues such as inland navigation, dredging, marinas, ports, logistics and infrastructure. Co-hosted by the Panama Canal Authority in Panama City, Panama, PIANC highlighted the Canal's advancements in waterborne transport infrastructure that are driving the industry toward a more competitive, profitable and sustainable future.

“It was an honor to host the 34th PIANC World Congress and provide a platform to discuss ideas driving international trade and global partnership,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “We're proud PIANC chose Panama and recognizes our growing impact as the logistics hub of the Americas.”

In recent decades, the Canal has invested over US$1.8 billion in modernizing its waterways to ensure it is constantly optimizing operations. Ongoing projects have added new dredges, barges, engines, boats and tugboats, as well as updated maritime and hydraulic systems that incorporate the latest technology.

Image: Panama Canal Authority

A New Look
Thanks to the Canal's commitment to expanding the capabilities of its infrastructure, the waterway continues to set important milestones. In the days following PIANC, the waterway welcomed the transit of both the largest cruise ship to date, the Norwegian Bliss, and its 3,500th Neopanamax transit by OOCL Poland. Just days prior, the Canal also broke its daily tonnage record by transiting 1.6 million PC/UMS in late April, surpassing January's record of 1.5 million PC/UMS. As year-on-year transits continue to grow, the Canal maintains its commitment to providing flexibility and additional capacity, commensurate with demand, as evidenced on the opening day of PIANC its implementation of an eighth Neopanamax reservation slot.

“The benefits of the economy of scale, as well as that of highly reliable and competitive vessel transit service, make the Panama Canal a strategic option for our customers,” said Manuel E. Benítez, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal. “This means that every day we must reinvent ourselves, improve our processes and expand our market offer.”

Since 2000, the Canal has prioritized projects aimed at keeping the waterway at the forefront of global trade. In addition to replaced machinery and updated technology, efforts have been made to widen surrounding water channels and bodies for the Canal's ambitious expansion. Over $900 million was allocated to match the following the demand for new vessels, dredges, locomotives and more.

We are thankful to be recognized by this year's PIANC World Congress, held for the first time in a Latin American country in its 133 years. As the region's logistics hub, we are encouraged by the industry's broader innovation and remain tirelessly driven to strengthening maritime transportation not just for the Americas, but around the world.
Source: Panama Canal Authority

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