Foreign Direct Investment up 18%

upwardAnother positive sign for the Panama economy, something you definitely want to consider if you are thinking of moving abroad.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Panama reached $4.1 billion in the first nine months of the year an increase of 17.8% compared to the same period of 2015 reports the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

“This figure shows the evident and continuous confidence of investors in the development of the country, stimulated by the macroeconomic policies, programs and projects carried out by the government” said the ministry.

An analysis of the figures shows that 64.5 percent of foreign investment this year is reinvested earnings, “which demonstrates the confidence foreign investors have about the positive future prospects of our economy,” said the report

Foreign direct investment in the third quarter totaled $1.5 billion, an increase of 54.3 percent compared to the $986.2 million invested in the same period of 2015. [NEWSROOM PANAMA]

Just The Beginning

cocoli lockIn its first month of operation, the Panama Canal’s new neopanamax locks recorded a total of 55 vessel transits according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Of the 55 vessels to make the transit, there were 29 container ships, 22 LPG tankers, two “carriers”, and two LNG carriers. Looking ahead, the ACP said it has received reservations for more than 229 vessels.

“We are totally satisfied with what we have seen during the first month of operation of the expanded Canal,” said Canal Administrator Jorge Luis Quijano.

There was one, relatively minor incident, when bad weather caused a ship to hit the side wall making a gash in the side of the ship. Panama Canal pilots and their union have continually questioned taking ships through the new locks with only tug boats and not the traditional engines or “mules” that have been used and are still used in the original locks to keep vessels centered.

Standard question on board … how much? The lowest toll was paid by adventurer Richard Halliburton who paid 36 cents to swim the Canal in a publicity stunt in 1928.

The highest toll for the original locks is quoted at $375,600 for the NORWEGIAN PEARL in 2010. That is a little misleading, however, because the “toll” is like the cost of an air ticket … and then you add on all the “fees.” The advance reservation fee is $25,000 to be sure you have a slot and to guarantee a daylight transit you add another $30,000 so we’re up to $430,000! Sometimes when I ask cruise ship captains what the transit costs, their numbers don’t add up with mine … until I factor in the advance reservation fee and daylight transit fees, which show up differently in the ship’s cost accounting.

But all those old records are smashed by the cost of taking ships through the new locks! The last “highest toll record” I heard of was $837,203 for a ship called the MOL BENEFACTOR on July 8th.

While shipping traffic is down worldwide, and a lot of cargo ships are in mothballs right now, the Panama Canal has consistently raised rates and made more money. The traffic Suez had siphoned off has returned.

The 76.8% of Panamanians who voted for the Panama Canal Expansion project made the right choice for Panama and it’s future.

expansion vote

How much?!? $829 468!

A  CONTAINER SHIP flying the Hong Kong flag will pay the highest ever Panama Canal  transit fee  when it passes through the new locks on Friday July 2.

“MOL Benefactor” will pay $829 468,   breaking the record set by the ship “Cosco Shipping Panama”  which inaugurated the new locks and  paid $ 575,545

“This vessel 337 meters long (long) and 48 meters wide will  transit through the new locks in a north direction, ie entering  through the locks of Cocolí in the Pacific, Friday July 1, to Clear Water locks on the Atlantic, “says a statement from the  Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

To date nine ships have passed through the new locks, including the inaugural transit.

The liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), ship  Lycaste Peace, of the  Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line, became on Monday the first LPG transit of the Canal.

174 ships have registered for transit through the newly opened locks, of which 166 remain to move. [NEWSROOM PANAMA]