Panama Canal Authority embraced by Long Beach, too

“While It is true that some shippers regard the Canal as a threat to our port when it comes to capturing trade from Asia, this agreement simply tells the world that we are seeking opportunities in Latin America as well,” said the port’s information director, Art Wong.

By Patrick Burnson · December 7, 2010

In a move that at first glance may seem “counter intuitive,” officials from the Port of Long Beach and the Panama Canal Authority have agreed to a series of efforts to promote more trade between Latin America and the U.S.

“While It is true that some shippers regard the Canal as a threat to our port when it comes to capturing trade from Asia, this agreement simply tells the world that we are seeking opportunities in Latin America as well,” said the port’s information director, Art Wong.

With the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, the two authorities agreed to exchange marketing ideas aimed at boosting trade between Long Beach and countries in the East Coast of South America and the Caribbean, via the Panama Canal. The MOU also calls for an exchange of ideas in the areas of engineering, dredging technology and environmental practices.

“Latin America is a relatively small but an emerging trade partner for our region,” said the port’s of Long Executive Director Richard D. Steinke. “This partnership will help increase our reach to this market as it expands.”
“The Port of Long Beach is a key logistics leader, and we look forward to promoting the Canal to increase international trade among Long Beach, Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta.

The Panama accord covers marketing activities and the exchange of technical expertise in several areas, including engineering, training and environmental programs.

“This accord expands the global network of port authorities, like the Port of Long Beach and the ACP, who are dedicated to green, sustainable and efficient development,” said Long Beach Harbor Commissioner Mario Cordero. “The Port of Long Beach is dedicated to growing that network and has signed similar agreements with several ports in China, Europe and Mexico.”

Wong told LM in an interview that trade with Latin America accounts for a small percentage of the port’s annual trade volume, Cordero and other officials hope to tap into emerging manufacturing markets to boost future trade.
“Mr. Cordero has really been leading the effort to drive ‘green initiatives’ in Panama and Latin America, too,” said Wong.

The Canal is undergoing an expansion project expected to be completed by 2014, which will allow larger ships to transit through.

The MOU further expands an international network of maritime entities dedicated to pursuing green, sustainable developments. The Port of Long Beach has similar MOUs in place with several ports in China, Europe and Mexico.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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