2013-02-02 16:05:37 - New Transportation market report from Business Monitor International: "Panama Freight Transport Report Q1 2013"
BMI maintains its positive outlook toward Panama's growth outlook, forecasting real GDP growth of 8% in 2013, largely as a result of continued robust private consumption. That said, we caution that with the completion of the Panama Canal nearing, the previous steady stream of investment may become somewhat less stable until the country is able to ensure more diversified investment opportunities.
Despite rising global headwinds in 2011, Panama's real GDP growth surprised to the upside at 10.6%, bolstered by strong commercial and construction sector activity. Panama remains a regional growth outperformer and we expect this trend to continue in coming years.
The Panama Canal remains a guaranteed source of income and freight volumes for the country and it will provide a further
boost to trade and earnings when the ongoing US$5bn expansion project is completed. The ratification by the US congress of the Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is also excellent news for freight transport volumes, as it will certainly boost trade between the two countries.
Full Report Details at
- www.fastmr.com/prod/529442_panama_freight_transport_report_q1_20 ..
Key Industry Data
* Air freight tonnes are set to grow by 5.4% in 2013, to 126,900 tonnes. BMI forecasts average annual growth of 4.3% over the medium term.
* Total tonnage throughput at Balboa is expected to grow by 6.0% in 2013. We forecast average annual growth of 7.0% over the medium term.
* Total tonnage throughput at Manzanillo is forecast to grow by 3.5% in 2013. We forecast average annual growth of 3.8% over the medium term to the end of our forecast period in 2017.
Panama Canal Issues Five-Year Progress Report
The expansion programme of the Panama Canal is five years into its development and a progress update estimates that 44.5% of the work has completed, according to the Marine Information Centre. Two of the dredging operations are almost completed and one is 76% completed.
Protests Over Land Sale Deal Halt Traffic, Commerce
Traffic and commerce came to a standstill in Panama's eastern city of Colon as demonstrators in Panama City and Panama Pacifico protest against a government-sanctioned land sale deal. Ports in the Colon region, including Cristobal, Colon Container, Manzanillo Intl, Colon2000 Cruise and Coassa tanker terminal, along with the Colon Free Zone, banks, government offices and commerce remain closed.
Halifax Port Authority Signs MoU With ACP
Canada's Halifax Port Authority and the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to identify business opportunities, raise awareness of ports, exchange information and start joint marketing initiatives.
Risks To Outlook
The main risk to our outlook is on the upside. BMI believes that when the Panama Canal expansion project is completed it will see increased throughput from larger container vessels. This will raise throughput at the country's ports and possibly have a positive effect on road and rail freight. Further upside risk comes from the ratification of Panama's long-awaited FTA with the US. This will eliminate exports duties on many goods which are transported between the countries, potentially providing a valuable boost to port throughput volumes.
In the short term, a downside risk presents itself in the form of increasing canal tolls, which are being used to fund the expansion. Several lines have already introduced surcharges passing this extra cost on to customers, but if rates continue to go up, lines could avoid the canal in an effort to cut costs. We believe that rates will level off when the expansion is completed, so this should not have a long-term effect on traffic.
A further downside risk comes from a possibility of a slowdown in the US' economic recovery. Sluggish consumer demand could result in a drop in demand for imported goods from China, which would have a negative knock-on effect on the Panama Canal's throughput volumes.
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