A Panama Canal delegation, comprised of Administrator Jorge L. Quijano and a Planning and Commercial Development team, met with customers and maritime organizations in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan, during a customer tour of Asia—a primary driver of traffic through the Canal.
These meetings allowed the Panama Canal to obtain valuable information from shipping industry executives in Asia to develop projections for various segments and to improve service provided at the waterway.
In Japan, representatives of the Panama Canal met with several shipping companies, including Mitsui O.S.K. Line (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (K Line) and the Japanese Shipowners’ Association.
The delegation also met with Japanese importers that use the waterway, such as Astomos, Tokyo Gas, Itochu Steel Inc., and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation to promote the Expanded Panama Canal. The meeting also served to identify future trends that will be considered in long-term planning at the Canal.
In addition, Mr. Quijano and the team of executives visited the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, where they met with the Vice-Minister Yasutada Ohno, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry to discuss Japan’s energy policies and the country’s interest in importing natural gas and propane from the Gulf of Mexico.
During their visit to Japan, they also spoke with executives of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation—an organization dedicated to marine policy research—to promote collaboration with the Panama Canal.
Next, the delegation travelled to South Korea to meet with representatives of Hyundai Merchant Marine and PanOcean.
In addition, the representatives visited Korea Gas Corporation (KOGAS)—an importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG)—and SK Gas—an importer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). They also visited the shipyard of Samsung, the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world, in Geoje, South Korea, to view the construction of Neopanamax LNG vessels.
In China, the Panama Canal delegation spoke with COSCO Shipping Lines President Xu Lirong and his staff to discuss important issues in the maritime industry and the service the Panama Canal provides. This company was created in 2015 by the merger of China’s two largest shipping lines—COSCO and China Shipping Container Lines—and it ranks fifth in the list of Panama Canal customers.
The delegation also travelled to Taiwan, where they spoke with representatives of the shipping companies Yang Ming and Evergreen to analyze aspects of the maritime industry and the service provided by the Panama Canal.
Coinciding with the customer tour in Asia, the 27th Annual Advisory Board and Board of Directors Meeting took place in Shanghai, China, on March 28 and 29, marking the second joint meeting since the inauguration of the Expanded Panama Canal in June 2016.
The Panama Canal Advisory Board, which was established in 1997 to serve as a consultative council for the Canal, is comprised of distinguished professionals and experts with broad experience in the business world and the Panama Canal in particular. Their expertise integrates knowledge of the world’s transportation, trade, business, telecommunications, construction and development, academia, and the banking sector.
During the meeting, they analyzed the Expanded Canal’s first nine months of operation, the behavior of various market segments at the Canal, such as LNG and LPG, as well as the consolidation of major shipping lines.
“I’m very enthusiastic about the productive meetings that took place with various maritime organizations and Canal customers in a very important region to the global shipping industry,” said Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano. “The Canal connects 144 maritime routes, reaching 1,700 ports in 160 countries, and in order for us to continue delivering exceptional service, we must maintain an open dialogue with our customers and with leading industry experts.”
Source: Canal de Panama