Since 2009 up today, the complex of Panamanian seaports specialized in containerized cargo were the Latin American’s seaports with the highest throughput. This seaport complex that includes three terminals in the Atlantic side and two in the Pacific side handled a total of 6.6 million teus in 2011 and 6.8 million by the end of 2012. The complex has a current handling capacity of 8.9 million teus with a current idle capacity of 2.3 million. A high level of connectivity between the port complex and the main centers of production and consumption involves a total of 65 liner services mainly dedicated to the transshipment operations. Transshipments represent approximately 85% of the yearly throughput of the complex.
The Atlantic cluster made up of Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), Colon Container Terminal (CCT) and Cristobal have a total of 16 berths, 38 quay cranes and 94 RTGs1 , while the Pacific cluster made up of Balboa and the new PSA Panama International Terminal has 8 berths, 25 quay cranes and 63 RTGs. With over 5,000 reefer plugs, these five seaports rank Panama as the number one country in Latin America in terms of operating quay cranes (63 in total). The Pacific cluster can accommodate up to 3 Post Panamax and 2 Panamax simultaneously, while the Atlantic cluster can handle in total up to 4 Post Panamax and 5 Panamax simultaneously.
Containers can be transferred between the Pacific and Atlantic clusters by either rail or truck; however inadequate road infrastructure limits the logistics performance of truck transfers between and within the clusters.