Latin Ports: Balboa Jumps
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10th June 2008

Panama’s Balboa continues its strong growth, but Brazil’s Santos is still the top port in Latin America.

BY CHRONICLE STAFFThe port of Balboa, located near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, boosted its containerized traffic by 85.5 percent last year, reaching a total of 1.8 million TEU’s. That was the highest growth in real terms – 845,195 TEU’s – and the second-largest in percentage terms of any port in Latin America, according to the third annual ranking of the region’s top container ports from Latin Business Chronicle.  The ranking is based on data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and individual ports. As a result of the strong growth, Balboa now ranks third among Latin America‘s top 50 ports. That compares with a fifth place in the 2007 ranking and 10th in the 2006 ranking. Last year’s TEU traffic was nearly five times higher than in 2002, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis.
“This is not surprising,” says David Hunt, the executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Panama. “This is something we have been expecting all along.”When Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa in 1999 was awarded a concession to operate the ports of Balboa and Cristobal – on each side of the canal – they planned to boost business significantly, Hunt says.  As space became available, the ports …

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