China looks at Panama infrastructure projects
Commercial operations, especially infrastructure projects, are attracting potential Chinese investment in Panama, following the establishment of diplomatic relations last month.
China Communications Construction Corporation and its subsidiary China Harbour Engineering Company, as well as China Railway Group and COSCO Shipping Corp, have shown interest in various projects.
Panama for its part is planning a a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Atlantic side of the canal, and a 1,200-hectare logistics park, as well as a roll-on roll-off terminal to move vehicles, machinery and heavy equipment, both adjacent to the Pacific entrance.
Panama also plans to invite new bids for a container terminal at Corozal on the Pacific coast.
A tender last fall was suspended due to legal defects.
The logistics park would be a free trade zone, where components imported from Asia could be assembled in bonded warehouses for re-export to other markets in North and South America.
It would also serve as a transshipment center for containers destined for other parts of the hemisphere.
Chinese enterprises have in recent years participated in several Panamanian projects.
Landbridge Group Company Limited last year acquired land on Margarita Island, next to the Atlantic entrance to the canal, for the development of a $700 million port.
Meanwhile, China Construction America – a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited - is building a convention center on the Amador Causeway in Panama City, while Chinese companies have also been participating in the construction of the Panama Metro.
Panama is also interested in attracting tourists from China, whose two biggest cities – Shanghai and Beijing, with a combined population of 40 million – are within non-stop range for both the Boeing 777-200LR and the Airbus A340-500.
As part of the plan, the Panama Canal Authority is building a new visitors’ entrance to the Miraflores locks, and adding an IMAX theater and a new restaurant.