- THE MAGAZINE
The industry has said ‘You need to look at this as a
— Manuel Benítez
While the world is watching the major construction project that will expand the Panama Canal’s capacity, Deputy Administrator Manuel Benítez says there has been a major shift in the mindset of those managing the Canal.
In an exclusive interview with World Trade 100, Benítez explained that the Panama Canal Authority no longer sees its role as only passing ships through the Canal. The paradigm shift will position the Canal to be part of larger trends which will mean more services for ocean shippers and an expanded role in North-South trade for Panama.
With a new free trade agreement between Panama and the U.S. slowly taking effect, the Canal can become an even more important economic engine for the country, and possibly its partners.
With all of this change comes the recognition that, not only is the Canal part of a larger network of trade flows, its fee structure also needs to reflect the needs of the industry it serves. Taking advantage of the economies of scale that the Canal expansion will offer by allowing larger vessels to transit the Canal, Benítez points out that even if fees increase, the per unit cost that will affect the costs to the beneficial cargo owner will drop. He explains a new structure the Panama Canal Authority is studying and offers a strong assurance it is likely to be applied when the expansion is completed.
For the full interview, you'll have to wait to see World Trade 100’s March 2014 issue.