Mark Whitworth, CEO of Peel Ports Group, and Gary Hodgson, COO, were VIP guests of the Mayor of Panama during the inauguration ceremony of the newly expanded Panama Canal when the official opening took place on Sunday 26 June.
The delegation from Peel Ports, owners of the Port of Liverpool, met with key Panamanian political and business leaders as part of the event, hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Panama Canal Authority.
Mark Whitworth commented: “The opening of the expanded canal has the potential to open up new markets for global trade and has the potential to shift international trade routes, allowing ships to reach Asia from the US up to two weeks faster than going through the Suez Canal. It is a considerable feat of modern engineering.
“The canal is of particular interest to us as its lock gates were previously the same width as those at our existing Royal Seaforth Container Terminal. We have both faced the same challenge and each responded with major investment plans to accommodate newer generations of container ships, paving the way for continued business success.”
Peel Ports’ senior team met with Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano during their trip to discuss recent developments at the Port of Liverpool with a view to promoting its trade connectivity with South America.
The $5.4 billion expansion project to add a new access lane to the canal has taken nearly 10 years to complete and will almost triple the capacity of the original canal, which was built in 1914. It will allow ships carrying up to 12,600TEU a quicker path between Asia and the USA, linking the Atlantic and Pacific. In addition, it will be able to handle tankers carrying liquefied natural gas.
The expansion project, started in 2007, required a third set of locks to raise and lower ships between the varying heights of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The locks use about 50 million gallons of water to move each ship through.
Peel Ports is at an advanced stage with a phased opening of its new £300million container terminal, Liverpool2.
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