Challenges Ahead for Canal
Users of the Canal have enjoyed a smooth and efficient transition to Panamanian control. But tough investment decisions regarding expansion now loom.
Nothing is more emblematic of Panama than its US-built
canal, still going strong 87 years after its opening. Now,
under Panamanian control, the security and efficiency of its
operation will remain one of the yardsticks by which the
country will always be judged. Skepticism has dissipated that
the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) could ensure a seamless
transition from US control and avoid government interference in
canal affairs. Alberto Alemán, the ACP's administrator,
says the last two years have shown that canal users have no
reason to fear. "I think we have proved to the world that we
were ready to manage the canal in an efficient way. And it is
not me saying it - it is the users of the canal," says
Alemán, who began his stint as canal administrator in
1996, under the US-run Panama Canal Commission. Says Carlos
Urriola, president of the Panama Chamber of Shipping,...
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