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How Panamanians transformed global trade over 20 years

THE transfer of the Panama Canal from US control to the Panamanian control 20 years ago set in motion a redefining period not only for the Panama Canal, but also Panama itself, said the canal authority in a communique to mark the occasion

How Panamanians transformed global trade over 20 years

THE transfer of the Panama Canal from US control to the Panamanian control 20 years ago set in motion a redefining period not only for the Panama Canal, but also Panama itself, said the canal authority in a communique to mark the occasion

03 January 2020 - 19:00

THE transfer of the Panama Canal from US control to the Panamanian control 20 years ago set in motion a redefining period not only for the Panama Canal, but also Panama itself, said the canal authority in a communique to mark the occasion.

'Over the next 20 years, the Panama Canal transformed from a profit-neutral utility to a competitive, innovative business. With the country's support, the waterway modernised and optimised service, upholding its commitment to enabling global trade and local growth,' said the statement.



'The Panama Canal's achievements over the past 20 years have come to embody its Panamanian leadership, marked by its ability to take on seemingly impossible challenges and exceed expectations.



'While the industry continues to face an increasingly complex operating landscape, the waterway celebrates its transformation to-date and remains committed to tackling challenges with ingenuity, courage and imagination, just as it did 20 years ago.



'To mark its 20th anniversary under Panamanian leadership, the waterway proudly looks back at a few key achievements from the past 20 years:



'1 The Panama Canal Modernisation and Improvement Programme intensified, aimed at upgrading infrastructure and equipment at the waterway.



'2 The Panama Canal adopted a new toll structure, recognising the increasingly diverse traffic passing through the waterway and replacing the structure that had been in place since its opening.



'3 After five years and more than a hundred studies, the Panama Canal presented its Expansion Programme proposal. Six months later, over three-quarters of Panamanians approved of the proposal in a national referendum.



'4 In September 2007, the Panama Canal began the construction of the new lane of traffic with two new lock complexes, prompting investments in similar expansion projects around the world, particularly along the US East Coast. The Project Management Institute later recognized the Expansion as one of the top 50 most influential projects of the last 50 years.



'5 The Panama Canal launched a reforestation and conservation programmes, which to-date is responsible for over two million planted trees in the Canal's Watershed and other parts of the country.



'6 Less than 10 years after the transfer, transit time (Canal Waters Time) decreased from 33 to 23 hours, marking the growing efficiency and reliability at the Panama Canal.



'7 In June 2016, the Expanded Canal was inaugurated in front of 25,000 Panamanians, Canal employees, heads of state and dignitaries from around the world, Canal customers, shipping and trade executives, and nearly 1,000 journalists. That same month, the waterway welcomed its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessel, marking the start to the new segment at the Panama Canal.



'8 The Panama Canal launched the Green Connection Environmental Recognition Program, recognising customers who demonstrate excellent environmental stewardship.



'9 By the Expanded Canal's first anniversary, the waterway had welcomed more than 1,500 neopanamax vessels, surpassing tonnage and daily transit expectations.



'10 The waterway installed a floating solar panel park pilot program on Miraflores Lake - the first of its kind in Latin America. The solar panels have 20 kilowatts of peak capacity and cover 400 square meters of water that would normally go unused.'


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