Tuesday 14th May 2024.

May 13, 2024


The relentless drought has left its mark on the Panama Canal and global trade. In the period from October 2023 to April of this year, a decrease in canal activity was recorded, with 2,211 fewer ships transiting its waters.

For the Panama Canal Authority (ACP), it has been inevitable to implement restrictions on the number of ships in transit and the draft since last year.

The Canal’s fiscal year begins on October 1 of each year and ends on September 30 of the following year. That is, for now the statistics for the first seven months of fiscal year 2024 are handled.

When these figures are compared with those of the fiscal year of 2023, it is seen that in the previous period 7,641 transits were made and now the passage of 5,430 vessels is reported.

This decline not only highlights the magnitude of the impact of the drought, but also the loss of economic opportunities, since the income from those 2,211 transits that could have been served if there had not been a lack of water has not been received. In addition, all the activity generated by the companies in the auxiliary maritime industries that provide services to the vessels that transit the waterway slowed down.

The behavior of transits varies depending on the size of the ship and the type of merchandise they move. In general terms, the two main classifications are Panamax ships (those that pass through the old locks of the Canal) and neo-Panamax ships, based on the dimensions of the new locks. In both cases a decrease is observed.

In the first half of fiscal year 2023, 2,131 neopanamax and 5,510 panamax transited. In the same period, for the fiscal year of 2024, 1,565 neopanamax and 3,865 panamax are observed.

In 2023, it rained 30% less compared to the historical average, which made it possible to store only 50% of the water needed to meet the demands of this resource during the 2024 dry season (January to April).

Considering on average that each transit would imply the payment of $400 thousand, the ACP would have lost the opportunity to have income between $800 million and $900 million additionally.

The entity, however, has mentioned that these incomes would be balanced with the adjustments of tolls, rates, reservations, penalties and transit auctions, so we would have to wait for the closing of the fiscal year, in September of this year, to to know exactly if the goal they set when they presented the 2024 budget was reached.

“If there were a reduction in transits or tonnage, it would be balanced by the charge for fresh water and changes to the reservation system,” they indicate on their website.

They also specify that the reservation system does not have an economic purpose, since what is sought is to efficiently manage water to guarantee supply to the population and provide reliability to clients, based on the reduced traffic capacity that in At this time, the Canal maintains 27 daily transits, except this week when due to maintenance it was set at 24.

When the drought hit the country hard in 2023, the Canal allowed only 22 ships to cross, when the usual rate is between 36 and 38 transits.

This amount has been gradually adjusted, to the point that transits will increase to 32 daily starting June 1 of this year, taking into account the rain projections that indicate that the level of Gatun Lake, the highest, will be progressively recovering. largest of the two reservoirs managed by the waterway.

For now, the Canal is leveraged with other income. Basically, two systems are used: the passage of ships that pay a quota or reservation that guarantees their passage and those that wait patiently until there is space for their transit.

This Monday, May 13, there were 53 ships waiting to transit, however, 44 of them already had reservations for transit and only 9 were waiting for a space to transit.

The prosecutor of the Panameñista Party, Porfirio Batista , is requesting the expulsion of the former presidential candidate for free nomination, Melitón Arrocha , for treason.

“As Prosecutor of the party @panamenistas [Panameñista Party] today I have sent Fiscal Hearing No. 04-2024 to the Court of Honor, requesting the EXPULSION of @melitonarrocha for Treason, his application violated the Statute, he took away space from the independent,” Batista wrote on his X account.

Arrocha was one of the three candidates for the Presidency of the Republic, who collected the most signatures to achieve the candidacy (157,203). However, he did not renounce Panamanism during this process. In addition, he was for the collective Social Independent Alternative Party (PAIS).

After three months of campaigning, Arrocha surprised with an unexpected announcement on April 29, six days before the elections, by expressing that he supported the presidential candidacy of Martín Torrijos (Popular Party), although he did not officially renounce his candidacy for the free application.

For the prosecutor of the Panameñista Party, despite not giving up the candidacy, it was tacitly given at that time.

In the elections held on May 5, Arrocha received a total of 4,594 votes; of this amount, 2,393 in the PAIS box.

Members of the Democratic Change (CD) party , united in the Democratic Vanguard movement, demanded this Monday, May 13, the resignation of Rómulo Roux from the CD presidency, after what they call a “humiliating defeat” in the May 5 elections.

The group includes former allies of Roux, such as Paula González , mayor of Penonomé; and Raúl Andrade , the CD prosecutor who processed the expulsion of the so-called dissident deputies, a faction led by Yanibel Ábrego , deputy of circuit 13-2, Capira.

Also at the press conference were representative Mayín Correa , and former representative Abraham Martínez , who on May 5 competed to return to the Assembly, but was unsuccessful.

Martínez proposes joining the “brother party” Realizing Goals (RM) and sharing the management of the government.

“We could hardly talk about opposition when the government (of José Raúl Mulino) has not yet been installed.” I believe we should share with our sister party Realizing Goals a government effort and suffer the same fate for the management of the country,” he assured.

Martínez belonged to the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), but in 2010, during the government of Ricardo Martinelli, he jumped to CD and became part of the so-called “turncoats.” An investigation by this medium revealed that in 2011, he bought four apartments in Tower 100 of the Condado Country Club, SA project, Condado del Rey urbanization, without bank financing.

Mayín Correa questioned Roux for having taken the game “from the owner.” “How can such a non-political person lead the second largest party in Panama? First…take it from the owner (Ricardo Martinelli), he paid for it, he registered it, he put his whole heart into it (…),” Correa said.

In a press release delivered in the middle of the meeting, they urge that “an exact day” be established for the internal elections of the party, otherwise, they added, they are willing to “self-convene” a convention to guarantee the intervention of the Court Electoral.

The group’s call also reaches the rest of the board. They demand the resignation of everyone. In addition to Roux, the rest of the board is made up of the following people: Carlos Tito Afú, Edwin Zuñiga (vice presidents); Yanibel Ábrego (secretary), Dana Castañeda (undersecretary), Rony Araúz, Mario Miller, (organization secretaries); Manuel Cohen (finance secretary); Mariela Vega, Abraham Carrasquilla, Dalia Bernal, Juan Carlos Illueca, Porfirio Ellis, and Fernando Carrillo (directors).

Ábrego, Castañeda and Bernal do not share Roux’s political line.

The Authority for Consumer Protection and Defense of Competition (Acodeco) reported that it obtained a judicial ruling in favor of a consumer in a case of abusive clauses, related to the acquisition of a home.

According to Acodeco, the Third Superior Court ordered the return of $26,372.90 paid by the buyer to two development and real estate companies. The case began in 2019 and after an administrative complaint, the consumer went to Acodeco, where a conciliation agreement was not reached.

The file was sent to the Public Defender’s Office, initiating a judicial process that resulted in the conviction of the economic agents for lack of clear and truthful information in the contractual relationship, violating Law 45 of October 2007.

The resolution of the Third Superior Court, of April 10, 2024, modified the first instance ruling, granting the claim for the conviction of the economic agents, after an appeal filed by the Public Defender team.

Acodeco received complaints against real estate agencies for an amount close to $33 million in 2023.

According to Acodeco data, from January 2019 to April 2024, the entity has received 3,416 complaints against real estate agencies for a value of $240.6 million.

A ruling by the Third Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice ordered the provisional suspension of the addendum that extended the concession of the company Gethsa Internacional, to extract continental sand in the town of San Martín, near the Pacora River.

This ruling annulled addendum No.220 of August 31, 1999, which extended the concession contract in the town of San Martín, province of Panama, for 10 years.

The decision, under the presentation of Judge Cecilio Cedalise, comes as a result of a claim for annulment filed by María Gabriela Dutary, at that time a lawyer for the Environmental Advocacy Center (CIAM).

The objective of this lawsuit was to suspend the contract addendum to the company for environmental damages, to the detriment of the Pacora River and surrounding area.

Through edict No. 1358, the Third Chamber notified the parties of the decision adopted, which is mandatory.

In 1999, the State and the company Gethsa Internacional signed the second addendum for a term of 10 years for the extraction of continental sand, in an area of ​​500 hectares in the town of San Martín, province of Panama.

The addendum establishes that, during the term of the contract, the company was committed to protecting the environment during its operations and also to establish programs to guarantee the least possible impact.

Since 2009, residents of the San Martín and Pacora area have complained about the operations of the Gethsa company, due to alleged environmental impacts to the detriment of the Pacora River.

On several occasions, the authorities of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries (Mici) intervened in Gethsa’s operations due to environmental impacts, which were later corrected.

The annulment lawsuit filed by the CIAM seeks to annul the contract granted to Gethsa due to the potential damage that could be caused to the environment.


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