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The movement of cargo in Panamanian container ports registered a decrease of 2.5% during the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary figures published by the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP).
Between January and May the movement of 2 million 732 thousand 847 TEU (equivalent unit of 20 feet long) was reported, that is, 70 thousand 349 TEU less than last year.
In the analysis of the statistics it is observed that the greatest downward impact was caused by the drop in the cargo movement of the Balboa and Cristóbal ports, both operated by Panama Ports Company (PPC).
During the first five months, Balboa handled one million 15 thousand 191 TEU, well below one million 217 thousand 798 TEU of 2017, this is 16% less or 202 thousand TEU less. PPC, a company in which the State has 10% of the shares, said that it is going through a difficult situation, since the national maritime industry has reflected an unfavorable trend for Panamanian ports, because part of the cargo volume handled in the country has been reoriented towards other ports in the region, “indistinctly of our vast capacity to serve them”.
The ports of Balboa, in the Pacific, and that of Cristóbal, in the Atlantic, are strategically located at the exits of the Canal, characteristics that make them an added value for both terminals. The port of PSA, located in Rodman, grew 89.8% in the five months, attributed to the fact that one of Balboa’s clients moved to that terminal.
The other Atlantic ports, Colon Container Terminal and Manzanillo International Terminal, recorded growth of 11.5% and 9%, respectively.