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PRPA And Panama Canal Sign MoU

by Mike Godfrey, for, Washington

25 June 2009

The Philadelphia Regional Port Authority (PRPA) and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this month to encourage economic growth and commercial activity between the two entities.

Signed by PRPA Board Chairman John H. Estey and ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta, the MOU will help generate new business by establishing an agreement to promote the "All-Water Route," a shipping route from Asia to the US East Coast via the Panama Canal.

"The strategic alliance with the Panama Canal Authority will increase job opportunities at our regional ports and attract new business," PRPA Board Chairman John H. Estey remarked, adding:

"This collaboration aligns with our mission to become one of the most competitive US East Coast seaports and has an increasingly marked contribution to the economic health of the state."

Under the agreement, which is renewable after two years, PRPA and ACP will conduct joint activities and share best practices. Specific areas of focus will include marketing, research and data interchange, technical advancements and personnel training programs. According to the ACP: 'The agreement demonstrates each organization's dedication to meeting the anticipated increased levels of international trade'.

"The Memorandum of Understanding with the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority comes at a critical time in the world economy," ACP Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta further explained, continuing:

"This agreement highlights our shared goals of improving customer service, increasing service offerings and business opportunities. We look forward to working together for continued trade between Latin America, Asia and the United States."

In 2008, PRPA cargo transiting the Canal, either on its way to or from its destination, totaled 1,906,343 long tons and represents half of all cargo handled by PRPA. Moreover, this number is up nearly 17,000 long tons from the year before.

Both PRPA and the ACP are working on expansion projects to foster increased trade. PRPA is sponsoring a five- to seven-year project to deepen the Delaware River Main Channel from 40 feet to 45 feet, which will better position the Port to accommodate the next generation of vessels that require deeper draughts.

The Panama Canal Expansion Program will build a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity, allowing increased traffic and wider ships. The waterway's expansion has an expected completion of 2014 and to date, continues to progress on-time and on-budget.

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