Business Chamber wants better Panama Ports deal

774Views 3Comments Posted 05/08/2021

After reviewing and analyzing the minutes of the meetings of the board of directors of the Maritime Authority of Panama (AMP), ThePanama Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (Cciap) has called for a “more equitable contract" with Panama Ports Company (PPC) "for the benefit of the best interests of the Panamanian nation."

The Chamber  stressed that "it is imperative that citizens know the result of the audit carried out by the Comptroller General with a view to understanding what the technical considerations were to certify the company's compliance with the previously agreed obligations."

The audit has not been published and the Comptroller's Office responded to a La Prensa request for information, based on the Transparency Law, that it could not provide it because it was "confidential".

Comptroller Gerardo Solís presented a report at a press conference on February 4, 2021, stating that after reviewing the contract the company had complied. Likewise, it was Solís who, during one of the meetings of the AMP board of directors, and after the authorization to renew the contract was approved automatically, proposed to sell PPC the participation of the State in the company, which corresponds to 10% of the Actions.

"Taking into account that there were three addenda that modified the original contract, it was extremely relevant that, as a country," we were emphatic in renegotiating certain terms of the contract, taking as reference the good practices of world maritime trade and the administration of ports of the region".

Likewise, the Cciap adds that it was mandatory to negotiate rates higher than those of the previous 24 years, especially in relation to land leasing and oil transfer. "Thirdly, the elimination of the demands of the company to the Panamanian State had to be agreed, demands that have slowed down the possibility of creating new ports in the Pacific that allow the logistics hub to be strengthened for the next 25 years."

According to the Cciap, administrative and financial audits of port companies must include the advice of technical personnel with extensive experience and experience in the maritime sector.

It stressed that Panama needs to develop its potential in the maritime sector and the port chain, offering added value to the logistics chain because the geographical position and the infrastructure around it constitute the main resource as a country.