WASHINGTON: Containerised cargo moved by Panamanian ports fell 9.1% in 2016, the first time such a decrease has been recorded since the 2008 – 2009 economic crisis. Panama ports reported total container volumes of 6.26m teu for last year 6.89m teu a year earlier with all terminals registering a decline. The fall in volumes reflects a downturn in transhipment which has been a general trend in the region. Two terminals posted double digit decreases; Evergreen’s Colon Container Terminal [CCT] on the Atlantic side fell by 19.9% to 632,845 teu while on the Pacific side, PSA International-Panama was 26.9% below last year with 157,967 teu.
The terminal is undergoing expansion that will double its capacity. Also on the Pacific side, Balboa saw a fall of 8% to 2.83m teu, while Cristobal on the Atlantic decreased by 2.3% to 793,941 teu having gained new services. Both terminals are administrated by Hutchison. Manzanillo International Terminal [MIT], on the Atlantic, fell 7.3% to 1.83m teu. However, some terminals posted slight growth in the last quarter of 2016 in particular MIT, Cristobal and Balboa.”2017 will be a period of transition in the maritime business on a global level, and above all with many changes in Latin America. New alliances and acquisitions in the sector of shipping lines; new terminals entering into operation and others in the process of completing their construction; and a lot of competition for the transhipment cargo will make the year of the rooster very ‘challenging’,” said Carlos Urriola, president of SSA International parent company of Seattle-based Carrix. SSA International operates ports in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Vietnam, Haiti and Puerto Rico with its flagship terminal in Panama, Manzanillo International Terminal-Panama [MIT].