National Port System
Panama has a network of seaports that provide a variety of services to containerized, bulk, liquid and general cargo, as well as to passengers in cruise terminals. Panamanian seaports in the National Port System (NPS) are divided into two groups: state ports and private ports. Private ports have been given to terminal operators after a privatization process of former state ports (concession). State ports are still operated by the government under the management of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP), and basically provide dockage and other related services for local users and short-sea services.
|Private Ports||State Ports|
By leveraging the geographical position of Panama as the country´s most important asset, several ports surrounding the Atlantic and Pacific entrances of the Panama Canal have specialized in the handling of containerized cargo converting the cluster in a transshipment hub.
Panama has several containerized seaports in the Atlantic area mainly serving the East Coast of North and South America, and the Caribbean: Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT), Cristobal-Panama Ports Company (PPC) and Colon Container Terminal (CCT). At the Pacific area, the port of Balboa is currently the only terminal performing container’s handling service. Both, Balboa and Cristobal are being operated by Panama Ports Company, members of the Hutchinson Port Holdings. A new container seaport is being under construction at the Balboa area by the name of PSA Panama International Terminal, as part of the Port of Singapore group.
Also, two additional ports provide commercial services to containerized cargo: Bocas Fruit Co. terminal at Almirante and Rambala terminal at Chiriqui Grande both located at the northwestern part of Panama in the province of Bocas del Toro. These ports handle bulk and general cargo, but the container segment is dedicated to the reefer liner service of banana exports.