Monday, March 19, 2018

Panama is the Brazilian grain bridge to Asian markets

Panama is the Brazilian grain bridge to Asian markets

The agreement allows the coordination of joint market activities, exchange of market studies and information on commercial flows, as well as modernization and improvement programs.

The Panama Canal signed a memorandum of understanding in the city of Cuiabá, Brazil with the Mato Grosso Association of Soybean and Maize Producers (Aprosoja) to promote the use of the interoceanic highway for the transit of grains (soybeans and corn) from the north of Brazil to markets in Asia.

The agreement allows the coordination of joint marketing activities, exchange of market studies and information on commercial flows, as well as modernization and improvement programs.
By Panama America
"The increase in capacity provided by the expansion of the Canal has allowed us to access new markets, which could include freight from ports in northern Brazil," said the administrator of the Panama Canal, Jorge Luis Quijano.
With the signing of this agreement is to promote the use of the Panama Canal, specifically the panamax locks for transit of grains, mainly soybeans and corn from northern Brazil to markets in Asia that are carried on ships Panamax; given the similarity in the draft of the ports of the Amazon River and these locks.
Quijano added that "we continually look for innovative ways to meet the ever-changing needs of world trade and the agreement signed with the Association of Soybean and Corn Mato Grosso further strengthens the common goal of promoting trade growth in the region."

 The agreement was signed by the president of Aprosoja, Antônio Galvan and the administrator of the Panama Canal, Jorge Luis Quijano.

 Founded in February 2005, Aprosoja is a nonprofit organization established by rural producers linked to soybean and corn of Mato Grosso developing actions and projects aimed at sustainable growth of the productive chain of these grains.

The Panama Canal has signed memoranda of understanding with 36 commercial associations, ports and maritime organizations mainly from the United States. Brazil's would be the first of them with a Latin American country.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Line 2 of the Panama Metro reaches 70% progress

Line 2 of the Panama Metro reaches 70% progress with the challenge of advancing its partial opening 

Line 2 of the Panama Metro reports a 70% advance to the month of February 2018, between the civil works and the electromechanical part, informed the general director of the Panama Metro, Roberto Roy. 

According to the official, there is a great additional pressure because five months before the official delivery date of this line, four stations have to be put into operation because of the commitment made by Panama with the World Youth Day (WYD). and the arrival of Pope Franscisco in January 2019. 

This is the partial and temporary opening of four stations on Line 2, whose advance will cost an additional $ 9 million. 

Next week Roy will have to submit an addendum to the contract for approval before the Cabinet Council.

It was reported that the tests to put into operation four stations for WYD 2019 would begin in November, approximately.

On the other hand, from April of this year, the arrival of trains on Line 2 of the Panama Metro should begin.

This line will have 16 stations, which go from San Miguelito to Nuevo Tocumen, a journey that will be covered in 35 minutes.

From El Capital Financiero

All the stations will be elevated, in an extension of 21 kilometers.

The cost of this project without new addenda amounts to $ 2,062,753,874.

Additional challenges
Another pending project that has to do with Line 2 of the Panama Metro is the extension to the Tocumen International Airport.

Currently, the Metro team is finishing drafting the bidding documents for the tender, which is expected to take place during 2018.

Meanwhile, the statement of charges for the extension of Metro Line 1 to Villa Zaíta, must be ready in 30 days to be delivered to potential interested parties in the project.

According to Roy, this project is more complicated because it has additional components such as: parking building, underground cables and others.

The tender for Line 3 of the Panama Metro is also pending, the last two chapters of the statement of objections are being drafted.

According to Roy, these three projects must advance during this 2018.

The President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, has estimated that between April and May of 2018 the technical and economic proposals will be received to build Line 3 of the Panama Metro to West Panama.

Line 3 of the Metro, which will be financed by Japan for more than $ 2,000 million, will have a length of 26 kilometers in its first phase and 14 stations.

Depart from Albrook Station and travel through Arraiján, Nuevo Chorrillo and you will reach Ciudad del Futuro.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Airbnb: 'We want the government of Panama to see us as an ally'

Airbnb: 'We want the government of Panama
 to see us as an ally'

The company Airbnb, which has a software platform dedicated to offering accommodation to individuals and tourists in 192 countries, including Panama, has been in the public arena at a time when the Panamanian tourism sector is going through a period of "skinny cows". 

The reason? The Panamanian Hotel Association (Apatel) does not hesitate to state that with the arrival of Airbnb to canal land, hotel occupancy has been affected. According to official figures, the year 2017 closed with a hotel occupancy of 47%; while hoteliers complain about the lack of controls before renting apartments for tourism purposes through the aforementioned electronic platform. 

Although there have been approaches between the government, the hoteliers and Airbnb, no specific points of agreement have yet been found that are beneficial for the parties. 

The Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Him, has said that "exploratory meetings" have been held and it has become clear that hoteliers reject the service offered by Airbnb because it does not pay taxes and because, having no regulation, it is "unfair competition " In Panama, Law 80 of November 8, 2012 is in effect, which in article 21 prohibits the rental of homes for less than 45 days to those who do not have a "public tourist accommodation" permit in the district of Panama.

The approaches between the government, hoteliers and Airbnb continue and it is expected that a new meeting will be held this March.

Photo by La Estrella

Friday, March 9, 2018

Panama Canal Expanded Registers 3 Thousand Transits of Neopanamax

 Panama Canal Expanded Registers 
3 Thousand Transits of Neopanamax

After 20 months of the expansion of the Panama Canal, this March 2, 2018, the waterway recorded the transit number 3,000 of Neopanamax ships.

After the expansion of the Canal, not only the increase in the transit of ships has been important. The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has reported that cargo movement has been key in the post-expansion period.

Last fiscal year, the Panamanian Canal recorded a record annual tonnage with 403.8 million tons of CP / SUAB (volume measurement of the Universal System of Ship Arcing of the Panama Canal). With this figure, the Panama Canal surpasses the 399 million tons CP / SUAB projected for fiscal year 2017.

"Today we overcome a new challenge based on the talent of the human team of the Panama Canal, which is committed to improving every day the service we offer our customers and generating greater benefits for our country," Jorge Luis Quijano, administrator of the Panama Canal

The transit 3 thousand of the neopanamax.
 The MSC Caterina is the name of the ship that marked the milestone of the 3,000 transits through the new locks, the ACP informed.

In addition to standing out for its dimension of 300 meters long and 48 meters wide, the MSC Caterina has the capacity to transport 9 thousand containers. According to the records of the ACP, this is the fourteenth time that the MSC Caterina transits via the extended route.
The first was in November 2016. Container ships, with more transits Of the Neopanamax vessels that have transited the Canal expanded since June 26, 2016 (when the third set of locks was inaugurated), 53% corresponds to container ships. In second place in transits include ships that transport liquefied petroleum gas (28%) and, third, those that carry liquefied natural gas or LNG (10%).
The latter, by the way, stands out as a new market for the Panamanian interoceanic highway, and more than 280 LNG vessels have already passed through. According to the ACP projections, by September 2018, if United States exports grow, the transits of liquefied natural gas vessels could increase by 50% in the Canal.

By La Estrella de Panama

Other key transits of the expanded Canal
Among the milestones that the Panama Canal has registered, after its expansion, the following stand out:
 🔹 On March 19, 2017: a thousand transits were reached (with the ship MSC Anzu)
🔹On September 26: the two thousand transits were recorded (with the COSCO Yanitian). The traffic figures reflect the economic impact of the interoceanic route with global maritime trade.
🔹October 26, 2017: The Caribbean Princess became the first Neopanamax cruise of the 2017-2018 fiscal year to make a transit through the expanded Canal.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

China and Panama will advance next week in the feasibility study of the FTA negotiations

China and Panama will advance this week in the 

feasibility study of the FTA negotiations

From 6 to 9 March, the second technical work meeting will be held in Panama for the feasibility study prior to the negotiations of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the People's Republic of China and Panama. This was reported by Jian Wang, economic and commercial attaché of the Embassy of China in Panama.

Wang, participated this Thursday, March 1 in the Second National Agricultural Symposium, a joint initiative between the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (Cciap) and the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) within the framework of Expocomer 2018.

The joint feasibility study is expected to be completed and then the official negotiation of the FTA will begin in the middle of this year.

Photo by Expocomer 

This study arises as a commitment of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between both Governments, by the Ministers of Commerce, on November 17, 2017, within the framework of an official visit by the President, Juan Carlos Varela, to China. 

Depending on the progress of the work may be June and July and we will accelerate the entire negotiation process ", 

Wang believes that this agreement will benefit final consumers and producers in China and Panama. Approach to negotiate From January 15 to 17, 2018, the first working meeting of the joint feasibility study of the FTA was held in Beijing, China. On that occasion, a Panamanian delegation traveled to China, led by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade, Néstor González. 

The Panamanian official said that next week a technical team from the People's Republic of China will arrive in Panama to follow up on the first meeting held in January of this year. 

They are technical work tables, in which price information is exchanged, product potential, special regimes of both countries, industrial protection, among others ", 

It clarifies that a free trade agreement not only sees the exchange of goods, but also involves issues such as: public procurement, legal security, investment attraction and others. 

It is important to have these meetings to know a little more about how the Chinese and Panamanian economy is composed ", 

The feasibility study is a requirement that China asks to start a negotiation of an FTA.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Third bridge over the Canal is 80% complete

Third Bridge Over The Canal is 80% complete

From La Estrella 

The work that will connect the Costa Abajo with the city of Colón should be ready for the first four months of 2019 

The third bridge over the Panama Canal is 80% complete. The work will connect the communities of Costa Abajo with the city of Colón.

The project that has an investment of $ 379 million, must be ready for the first quarter of 2019 and its maintenance will be in charge of the Panama Canal Authority.

Its design is double delta type cable-stayed in an inverted 'Y' shape and with four lanes. Its length is 4.6 kilometers, which includes the viaducts and an elevation of 75 meters above sea level.

It has 2 main towers that will carry 32 cables each. So far 22 and 23 cables have been installed.

The also known as Atlantic Bridge will have four lanes and 175,000 m2 of concrete and 35 tons of steel have been used. In the work there are more than 1,000 people working.

The Panama Canal delivered in January 2013 to Vinci Construction Grand Projets the order to proceed for the construction of what will be the third bridge over the interoceanic highway, the first in the Atlantic sector.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

National Theater to open in January 2019

National Theater to open in January 2019

The architectural renovation works of the National Theater have progressed by 30%, according to Janelle Davidson, General Director of the National Culture Institute (INAC). She added that the civil engineering works and the artistic restorations are also on schedule. It is expected that the theater will open its doors in January 2019.
Among the works that are being carried out are the optimization of the air conditioning and electric systems, improvements in sanitary facilities and sound, restoration of the ceiling as well as paintings and other architectural and decorative elements, specifically in the areas of the stalls, boxes, proscenium, walls, stairs and lobby areas.
The artistic restoration has been carefully supervised by specialist, Angela Camargo, since June 2017, and she declares herself satisfied with the work done and is fascinated by the brush strokes in the fresco painted by the Panamanian artist, Roberto Lewis” (1874-1949).
The restoration works cost approximately $15 million, including the civil engineering and the artistic renovation. There is also a maintenance plan, once the trust is formed. It is currently awaiting the appointment of the Board of Directors who will have the mission of monitoring the plan long term.
This architectural jewel was closed in June 2015 due to damage in its structure and on the recommendations of safety entities, which gave the parameter for carrying out the works according to strict quality standards, to avoid further deterioration in the building and the fresco.
The National Theater, which has a Neoclassical façade, was inaugurated on October 1, 1908 and is one of the buildings with the greatest historical, architectural, artistic and environmental value in the Casco Antiguo Historical Site. It is located near the San Francisco Church and Bolivar Square.

                                                              The architectural elements are being restored. 
                                                              By the Visitor