Since the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has sought ways to lower costs and improve shipping competitiveness in the area since its expansion, an idea was proposed to "simplify" commercial activity: mega-alliances.
In order to make possible the operation in a more efficient and orderly manner, the ACP has divided maritime trade into three main groups that have been formed between the 2M Alliance (Maersk Line, MSC and Hyundai Merchant Marine) since April this year; the Alliance (Hapag-Lloyd, K Line, Mitsui O.K. Lines, NYK Line Kaisha and Yang Ming) and Ocean Alliance (CMA-CGM, Cosco, Evergreen Line and OOCL).
To take advantage of it, Panama sought to use the mega-alliances to have the potential to make the shipping companies establish in the country their hub of transshipment.
Experts say that port expansion on the Pacific side of the Canal "was necessary" to attract the attention of international trade.
During the first half of 2017, the National Institute of Statistics and Census of the Comptroller’s Office documented that the container movement in Panama expanded 13.4%; the net tons transported by the Panama Canal increased 28.8% and the revenues of the main interoceanic route increased by 10.7%.
Statistical data up to May of the Panama Maritime Authority reveal that container movement increased 12.6% in the first five months of the year.
In Panama, the main ports that move containers are: Panama Port (Hutchison Ports PPC, which operates in Balboa and Cristóbal), Colon Container Terminal (CCT), Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), and Panama International Terminal (PSA).