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Panama's business community protests to stop strategic port

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  • Sun, 05/13/2018 - 18:18
Trabajadores Puerto Balboa
  • Twitter @TReporta

The Panamanian business leaders protested this Saturday against the suspension of work in the main port of the Panamanian Pacific, Balboa, due to demands from its workers.

"The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) categorically rejects the suspension of operations in the Port of Balboa. This action has millions of repercussions on the cargo and its transshipment, as well as joins the negative impact of the image of the Panamanian logistic hub," it said in a statement.

The port of Balboa, together with that of Cristóbal, in the Atlantic, are concessions that the Chinese-owned company Hutchinson has been operating for more than 20 years and is in a phase of restructuring that has involved layoffs amid protests staged by workers.

"The Panamanian Logistics 'Hub' provides a fundamental service for world trade, which is why such suspensions affect the reputation of Panama vis-à-vis customers and operators who choose our route for loading in transshipment," said Gabriel Barletta, president of the CCIAP.

"The Port of Balboa is one of the terminals with the largest freight movement in Latin America, this not only has a negative impact on the operator, this translates into detriment to the national economy," said the business leader.

The CCIAP, as part of the Logistics Business Council, joins the call to the parties so that this type of actions do not affect the national logistics chain, one of the few sectors that currently drive the growth of the Panamanian economy.

One of the leaders of the Logistics Business Council (COEL), Leroy Sheffer, wrote on Twitter that "the impact of the suspension of a port operation does not harm a company." It damages the efforts of a whole country. Suspending a port in Panama is similar to a high-range missile pointing to a destination = INSTABILITY in the MARKET!".

In a statement, the COEL expressed its "strong rejection" of the suspension of the Port of Balboa, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

The COEL urged the authorities to take an "immediate action" and the administrators and workers to seek a negotiated solution because it is affecting Panama's ability to become a "reliable cargo transshipment center", the foundation to be projected as the Latin American logistics "hub".

It is unknown if the suspension is temporary or indefinite.

EFE

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