The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with major UK ports operator, Peel Ports, who own the Port of Liverpool, as the latter gears up for the formal opening of its Liverpool2 container terminal in early November.
The formal agreement creates a strategic alliance aimed at facilitating international trade and generating new business by promoting trade routes between Liverpool and the west coast of South America via the Panama Canal.
The agreement was signed October 24 by Jorge L. Quijano, Administrator of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and Mark Whitworth, Chief Executive of Peel Ports Group, during a formal visit to the Port of Liverpool by a senior delegation from Panama.
High profile Panamanian government and business leaders including Roberto Roy, Minister of Canal Affairs, and Alejandro Moreno, Deputy Administrator of Panama Maritime Authority were shown around the port by Peel Ports’ Chief Operating Officer Gary Hodgson. They were joined by the UK’s Panama Ambassador, Ian Collard, and Ariel Perez Price, the UK’s Director of International Trade in Panama.
“Liverpool and Panama have both responded to the growth of the global container ship fleet with major investment programmes in recent years to accommodate newer generations of container ships. The opening of the expanded canal has the potential to open up new markets for trade and has the potential to shift international trade patterns,” Whitworth said.
HMA Dr Ian Collard added, “The Panama Canal Authority has made considerable investments in recent years to expand its lock gates and thereby unlock the potential for a new generation of Neo-Panamax vessels to cross quickly between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. At the same time, the development of Liverpool2 provides an opportunity for the Port of Liverpool to develop its role as a destination for these larger vessels and create a new stream of traffic across the Atlantic. Today is the start of what I hope will be a new chapter in Liverpool-Panama relations.”
Other visitors to the port included Ivan de Icaza, President of the Panama Chamber of Commerce, Surse Peirpoint, General Manager of the Colón Free Trade Zone, and Leroy Sheffer, President of COEL (Logistics Business Council).
In June this year, Peel Ports’ executives were VIP guests of the Mayor of Panama during the inauguration ceremony of the newly expanded Panama Canal. During the visit they met key Panamanian political and business leaders as part of the canal expansion event, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Panama Canal Authority.