Panama ports handle 7 million TEU in 2018, but growth slowed to 1.7pc

PANAMANIAN ports reached a new milestone after handling a record 7

14 February 2019 - 19:00

PANAMANIAN ports reached a new milestone after handling a record 7.01 million TEU in 2018, representing year-on-year growth of 1.7 per cent, far below the 10.1 per cent increase in container volume achieved in 2017.

Transshipment containers accounted for the vast majority of last year'sbox traffic and rose to 6.09 million TEU.

The highest cargo throughput growth was recorded by Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT-Panama) at 18.5 per cent, marking its return to surpassing the two-million-TEU-mark with a total of 2.23 million TEU handled, reported Seatrade Maritime News, Colchester, UK.

On the Atlantic coast, next to MIT, Evergreen's Colon Container Terminal (CCT) registered double-digit growth of 16.4 per cent to 816,373 TEU, a landmark for the terminal. Cristobal, located at the Atlantic entrance of the Panama Canal and operated by Hutchison Panama Ports, suffered a decrease of 2.2 per cent to 1.28 million TEU, down from 1.31 million TEU in 2017.

The expansion of PSA-Panama, which raised its capacity to two million TEU and granted it the ability to receive post-panamax vessels, recorded growth of 646.5 per cent to 608,906 TEU, up from 81,568 TEU in 2017.

Inaugurated in April 2018, the new terminal is now receiving Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) services which left Balboa along with other container shipping lines, lowering cargo volumes at Balboa, operated by Panama Ports, by 29.3 per cent to 2.05 million TEU.

A reshuffle of carrier services during 2018 also shifted cargo transshipped in Panama to Caribbean ports and Mexico.

A further US$1.1 billion investment by the Chinese consortium led by Landbridge Group will add 2.5 million TEU by constructing a new terminal on the Atlantic coast that is expected to open in 2020.


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