The Panama Canal would play a vital role in enhancing trade between the State of Qatar and its partner countries in Latin America, according to Panama’s top diplomat in Qatar.
Ambassador Musa Asvat said the Panama Canal has improved world trade, transportation, and connectivity for over a century, and connects 144 maritime routes that reach up to 160 countries worldwide.
He said the expanded canal doubled the tonnage capacity of the waterway, enabling the transit of up to container ships and 90% of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier fleet, offering significant time savings for LNG producers in the US when exporting to Asia.
“For instance, the Panama Canal serves as a perfect point of connectivity and trade relations between the State of Qatar and the Americas, in particular Latin America, since it becomes the perfect trade connection for goods and commodities, such as LNG between the State of Qatar and Latin America,” Asvat told Gulf Times.
Asvat noted that Panama also has the adequate infrastructure that enhances its connectivity and allows commercial activities to flourish and expand throughout the Americas.
Elaborating further on Panama’s ports and logistics infrastructure, Asvat said Panama has ports in both the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, and a major free zone – the Colon Free Zone, as well as special economic zones.
“We have an international airport that serves as the hub of the Americas, and the Panama Canal railroad, which connects ports in the Pacific and the Atlantic, thus in terms of trade and commercial activities, Panama can a great partner to the State of Qatar,” Asvat emphasised.
He added: “In addition to offering safe, reliable, and efficient service, the Panama Canal is committed to global efforts to reduce emissions from the maritime industry, including the IMO’s initial GHG strategy, IMO 2020, and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG), which calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impact.
“By offering a shorter route for ships, the Panama Canal contributed to a reduction of more than 13mn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2020, in comparison to the most likely alternative routes. In addition, the Panama Canal launched its process of decarbonising its operations, with aims of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”
Earlier, Asvat pointed out that Panama is keen to strengthen its economic ties with Qatar through the exchange of best practices and knowledge-sharing in various fields, including ports management and logistics.