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Panama Canal Reaffirms its Role as Global Trade Facilitator During Asia Trip

Monday, 03 June 2019 | 00:00

A Panama Canal delegation led by Administrator Jorge L. Quijano recently returned from Asia following meetings with customers and maritime, commerce, energy and infrastructure organizations to discuss the waterway´s operations and further enhancements to service, as well as gain valuable insight from industry leaders.

“Our tour in Asia proved extremely valuable in providing the Panama Canal leadership with critical knowledge on the region's upcoming needs. As we continue investing in quality customer service, our goal is always to collaborate closely to arrive at the best solutions alongside our industry partners,' said Mr. Quijano. “We look forward to continuing to support the region's growing role in world trade and the great value that the Panama Canal route represents for our customers.”

Singapore: Promoting Panama & the Canal's Performance at Sea Asia 2019
The trip began in April at the Sea Asia 2019 maritime exhibition and conference in Singapore, where Mr. Quijano spoke on a panel with maritime executives and professionals on global trade flows. The team also promoted Panama's maritime trade offerings alongside the country's Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Panama Maritime Authority as part of the Panama Pavilion exhibit.

Mr. Quijano speaking on panel at Sea Asia 2019 in Singapore. Photo courtesy of Sea Asia 2019.

While in Singapore, the team met with BW GAS A/S, Helios LPG, Ocean Network Express Pte. Ltd. and PSA to discuss the performance of the Panama Canal, particularly Neopanamax Locks, as well as modifications implemented to the reservations system to adapt it to the needs of the different market segments, additional capacity improvements made to the Canal infrastructure post-expansion and potential new business developments that may complement the transit service.

Japan: Discussing Upcoming Opportunities for Partnership
Next in Tokyo, the Panama Canal delegation continued conversations on improvements to the reservations system, possible changes to tolls structure, Canal capacity and potential new business developments to complement the core transit business with key shipping companies, such as Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Japanese Shipowners’ Association (JSA), and importers that use the waterway, such as Astomos Energy Corporation, Itochu, Sumitomo Corporation, JERA, Tokyo LNG Tanker Co. Ltd., JBIC and Osaka Gas.

The team made additional visits to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as well as the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, to discuss the continuation of a fruitful relationship between the Panama Canal and Japanese shipping lines, as well as government agencies.

China: Reaffirming the Canal's Role in Energy Imports
The Panama Canal delegation alos traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, where they spoke with the Chinese National Energy Administration, the China Natural Offshore Oil Corporation, PetroChina, SINOPEC and China COSCO Shipping Corp Limited about the Canal's ability to handle the increasing demand for energy imports and future trends in vessel construction.

South Korea: Outlining Overall Performance & Recent Investments
The Panama Canal team next held meetings in South Korea, where they met with Hyundai Merchant Marine, PanOcean, as well as companies in the energy sector including E1 Corporation, SK Shipping, Hyundai LNG Shipping, y Korea Line, and KOGAS. During these meetings, Mr. Quijano gave presentations about the performance of the Canal and the investments made since the opening of the Neopamanax Locks to add capacity and scheduling flexibility for all market segments, including accommodating the additional demand for the LNG segment.

Taiwan: Sharing Insights on Transits & Trends
In Taiwan, the Panama Canal team met with customers Evergreen and Yang Ming to discuss current liner segment trends including larger vessels deployments as well relay information regarding the transit reservation system upcoming enhancements.

United States: Highlighting the Waterway's Accomplishments with LNG
Mr. Quijano and his team completed his customer tour in Asia with a stop at Cheniere Energy, Inc´s Long Term Customer Gathering in Houston, Texas, where he gave a presentation on how the Panama Canal has adjusted to the needs of the LNG industry's increased traffic and is prepared to accommodate future demand projections by investing in further widening of channels, additional mooring and anchorage areas and the increase of the Canal's tugboat fleet. Mr. Quijano was able to directly address questions from the production side as well as buyers, traders and transporters of this important energy sector.
Source: Panama Canal Authority

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