Panama Canal Authority (ACP) Administrator/CEO Alberto Alemán Zubieta and Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) CEO Rick Ferrin launched a strategic partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The MOU, signed in a ceremony in the historic Panama Canal Administration Building, outlines joint efforts to increase economic growth, share business intelligence, promote commercial activity and maximize expansion projects currently being undertaken by both entities.
“This partnership is especially important as both the ACP and JAXPORT undertake landmark expansion projects to spur trade and increase economic opportunities,” said Mr. Alemán Zubieta. “Further, it is emblematic of the Canal’s goals to constantly look for creative ways to serve the needs of the international maritime community and provide safe, reliable and efficient service to our customers.”
As part of the MOU, the ACP and JAXPORT will conduct a series of joint activities to promote both the Port and the Canal. Specific areas of focus include marketing, research and data interchange, technical advancements and personnel training programs.
“JAXPORT is already strongly connected to the Panama Canal by 13 ocean carriers and more than 600 annual calls in Jacksonville,” said Mr. Ferrin. “We regard the opening of the new locks as the beginning of a profound transformation in global cargo patterns, specifically for cargo flowing from and into the United States. We’ll be ready for the completion of the new locks and the dramatic increase of our Canal cargo volume.”
The Panama Canal expansion project will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double Canal capacity and allow the passage of longer and wider ships. Overall, expansion is estimated at $5.25 billion, with an anticipated completion of 2014.
The agreement also underscores each organization’s dedication to meeting the expected heightened levels of trade following the Canal’s historic expansion project. In fact, JAXPORT is undertaking its own expansion venture to accommodate even larger vessels. The Port recently inked a deal to construct a second post-Panamax container terminal at the Dames Point Marine Terminal. The new terminal is slated for completion in late 2013.