Spanish version

MARITIME AFFAIRS

Container facility planned for Corozal

The Panama Canal Authority has cleared most of the tenants from the area for the project.

Spanish version

Temas:

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) has removed tenants from 96 percent of the areas in Diablo where it plans to build the Corozal container port.

However, a bill to give the area the same benefits which apply to other container ports is still stalled in the National Assembly.

The ACP reported that, "in many cases voluntary departure agreements were reached with the occupants, who acknowledged that land that they used belonged to the ACP."

Industry experts agree that it is necessary to expedite the project to take advantage of the benefits it will have due to the Panama Canal expansion. The project will take an estimated 18 months to complete.

Puerto de Corozal Expandir Imagen
Puerto de Corozal

The ACP pointed out that t s decision to locate the port in Diablo was legal. However, there was considerable resistance from boat owners and others who had used the area for more than 40 years in some cases.

In the 1970's, the Panama Canal Company and then the Panama Canal Commission granted permission to employees to use the area to store and make repairs on boats for personal use. However, that agreement clearly stated that the land was still owned by the Canal Authority and that they would have to vacate it if the area was ever needed.

When the area reverted to the government of Panama under the ACP, no agreements were signed with any of the tenants allowing them to stay.

"The Panama Canal never signed any contract with any occupier," stressed the ACP.

There were an estimated 107 structures located in the area that were used for boat storage and repairs. None of these had any operating licenses or building permits, and no one had paid any rent to the ACP for their use.

The area will make an ideal port, industry officials said, due to its proximity to the Panama Canal Railroad. But that won't happen until the National Assembly approves the bill granting the area tax concessions. The bill is stalled in the legislature.

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