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Panama Canal Ports


Canal ports gear up to handle bigger vessels

By Michell de la Ossa Prieto

The movement of containers in the Latin American Pacific has increased at a higher rate than on the Atlantic side because the Caribbean has a greater supply of ports.

On the Panamanian Atlantic side, Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), the largest container terminal in the Caribbean in terms of infrastructure and volume, is currently preparing for the opening of the expanded canal in early 2016 with a series of improvements in cargo handling capacity at the terminal, including the relocation and modernization of the main gatehouse.

The port is currently building a 600 meter wharf and has acquired four additional post panamax gantry cranes.


The Port of Manzanillo this year celebrates 20 years of operation. During this period it has invested more than US$ 700 million to meet the needs of international maritime trade.

This Panamanian Atlantic port has a productivity rate of 32 moves per hour and has an installed capacity of 2.5 million teu – projected to reach 4 million teu as a result of the expansion.

All this investment is because in about 12 months the third set of post panamax locks will open to international maritime trade, allowing vessels of up to 12,000 teu capacity to transit the canal. This means that the regional ports, and particularly those of Panama, will have the capacity to deal with these mega ships.

The largest port investments are expected in the Panamanian Pacific, commencing with a project by Singapore Ports Authority (PSA) to expand its Pacific terminal in the Port of Rodman.

The port company is awaiting approval of its expansion by the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP). The plan is to expand the total area of the terminal to 40 hectares and to boost its capacity from a current level of 450,00 teu to approximately 2 million teu.

Read more: Panama Canal Ports