Spanish version

MARITIME AFFAIRS

Lawsuits hamper Corozal project

There are 11 suits that have been filed over the project.

Spanish version

Temas:

The project to build a container terminal in Corozal, which would become the third port on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal, is facing 11 lawsuits seeking to block the work from beginning.

Topping the list of litigants is Panama Ports Company (PPC), which operates the Port of Balboa, which is adjacent to the project. Other suits have been filed by residents of Diablo Heights, as well as third parties who are opposed to the project.

The lawsuits began to appear shortly after the October 2014 decision in which the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) board approved a plan that allowed Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano to initiate the process of awarding the concession for the project.

The ACP has said that the expansion of its port facilities is a key to taking advantage of the expanded Canal. The National Assembly is considering a bill that would extend the same benefits to the Corozal project that are now enjoyed by existing facilities, which is seen as a key to making the project feasible. But a lack of action on the bill and the lawsuits have bogged down the project.

Of the 11 lawsuits, four have been filed by PPC. Three of them are pending in the Supreme Court and the fourth has been filed with the ACP board.

But leaders within the maritime sector have called for the project to move forward.

Chamber of Shipping President Rommel Troetsch noted that a decrease in business in the first seven months of the year can be attributed to the lack of port space on the Pacific side, saying that companies have sought to use other transshipment centers or have resorted to delivering goods directly to their intended destinations.

He said business at the Port of Cartgena has increased due to the lack of space. 

But PPC Director Paul Wallace said the project is unnecessary due to the slowdown in international trade.

He argues that not there is business enough as to support any new operations.

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