Work has yet to start on any of the four terminal concessions approved by the government of outgoing Panamanian president, Ricardo Martinelli, between 2012-2014, according to Willys Delvalle, chairman of the Panama Maritime Chamber.
Three of the concessions related to container terminals that were to be established on Panama’s Atlantic coast, while a fourth would see a multi-purpose terminal built on the Pacific Coast.
Mr Delvalle said that a time scale for the start of construction needs to be established, otherwise, these projects “leave themselves open to speculation”.
He suggests, for example, that the four contracts could be subsequently sold, transferred or bartered, if the original concessionaires are unable to source sufficient investment. He therefore called for all future concessions to be awarded by international tender.
Panama needs additional investment, concluded Mr Delvalle, if the country is to take advantage of new business that will be generated once the new set of locks on the Panama Canal come into operation.