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President Torrijos Presents Expansion Plan to Port of Houston Authority

Date: 12-MAY-2006

PORT OF HOUSTON SUPPORTS PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION

EXPANSION WILL BRING WIN-WIN BENEFITS TO BOTH PANAMA AND HOUSTON

HOUSTON - Panamanian President Martin Torríjos yesterday presented the proposal to expand the Panama Canal to James Edmonds, Chairman of the Port of Houston Authority. Also at the presentation were Alberto Alemán Zubieta, Administrator and CEO of the Panama Canal Authority and Thomas Kornegay, Executive Director of the Port of Houston Authority.

The expansion of the Panama Canal would entail the creation of a new lane of traffic along the Canal through the construction of a new set of locks. Expansion would greatly benefit the Port of Houston, bringing an increase in traffic and helping to invigorate the Houston economy. The Port of Houston currently ranks first in the United States for foreign tonnage and as the sixth largest port in the world.

"The benefits of a Canal expansion to the Port of Houston are many. It would allow for Houston to compete with East Coast ports, handling the same larger and wider vessels. And, it would help continue the Port's economic growth," said Thomas Kornegay, Executive Director of the Port of Houston Authority. "The Panama Canal Authority has done an excellent job managing and operating the Canal. We are happy and proud to support its Canal expansion proposal."

Administrator and CEO of the Panama Canal Authority Alberto Alemán Zubieta stated, "Our friends at the Port of Houston Authority have been a great business alliance to the Canal since we entered into our Memorandum of Understanding. The expansion of the Panama Canal will help continue our partnership, bringing real tangible benefits - a win-win for our customers, the people of Texas and the people of Panama." The Panama Canal Authority and the Port of Houston Authority entered into a strategic alliance - Memorandum of Understanding - in 2003 to increase cooperation, such as joint marketing and coordination on modernization projects. Moreover, the two have worked together to boost trade along the increasingly important "All-Water Route," the global commerce link from Asia to America's Gulf Coast/East Coast via the Panama Canal.           

ABOUT THE PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITY

The Panama Canal Authority is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the Panama Canal Authority is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the Panama Canal Authority's Web site: www.pancanal.com.

The Authority's responsibility to the Panamanian people is paramount. The Canal belongs to the people and benefits from the Canal should accrue to as many Panamanians as possible. The Authority will plan its future so that it will continually contribute to the economic development and welfare of the citizens of Panama.


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