Hope builds for Panama oil port
PANAMA. After a decade of fighting red tape and disgruntled competitors Atlantic Pacific S. A. (APSA) might be able to build a port to...
PANAMA. After a decade of fighting red tape and disgruntled competitors Atlantic Pacific S. A. (APSA) might be able to build a port to load and offload fuel in the area known as Oil Crib, in Balboa.
Two companies Port & Harbour Marine Services Corp and Transiberica Terminal & Services were competing for the concession and opposed to the project saying that they were unfairly treated.
Port and Transiberica put forward a request to construct marinas but the Panama Maritime Authority AMP did not give them an answer.
The legal representative of Port & Harbour, Justino Gonzalez, said in a local newspaper that the process for granting the concession was handled badly. But two of the three board directors of Port & Harbour used to work for the AMP and the third one currently works for that authority, which points to a conflict of interest.
According to the AMP, APSA presented the request for the concession in 1998 and the proposal represents the best use of the land, which is full of fuel storage tanks.
The AMP said that it did not consider the proposals of the other two companies, because they were planning to build marinas in an area where ships are coming to refuel.
APSA’s proposals on the other hand was more practical and it put forward its request to build the port on five different occasions through the AMP, but it did not progress further than that. At that time there was a supply fuel crisis and it was clear that in the future the traffic in the canal would increase and more ships would need fuel.
The records demonstrate that APSA has paid its taxes and other monetary obligations that it has with the state and therefore there is no reason why it should not have a concession to construct and manage a port.
In a document the AMP said that in the interest of developing a national maritime strategy, a support maritime industry, especially the bunkering industry the construction of fuel loading port is essential.
Oil companies such as British Petroleum, Shell Chemoil, Chevron Texaco Antilles, Esso, Isthmian Petroleum and Rio Energy have also requested the construction of an oil port to be able to cope with the demand of the national market.
The AMP administrator, Fernando Solorzano, will put forward the request for the concession of the Oil Crib land to the AMP board of directors, who will havethe final word.
It is not known how long the process is going to take, although according to the oil companies it is imperative for an oil port to be constructed in the Pacific area.