Panama opens a new cruise ship terminal at the mouth of the canal

A new cruise ship terminal in Panama City was built by a Chinese-led consortium with an investment of more than $200 million – Copyright AFP Martin BERNETTI

Panama on Tuesday inaugurated a new cruise ship terminal at the mouth of the drought-stricken Panama Canal in hopes of attracting more tourists to the Central American nation.

The Panama City facility was built by a consortium led by China Harbor Engineering Company with an investment of more than $200 million, president Laurentino Cortizo said.

“The cruise terminal will create new tourist routes … attract more visitors to our country,” Cortizo said at the grand opening.

The terminal, which will be able to receive two cruise ships at once, is the first on the Pacific coast of Panama.

Another operates in the Caribbean city of Colon.

Nearly 320,000 cruise ship visitors visited Panama in 2023, double the previous year, according to Denise Guillen of the Panama Tourism Authority.

“The growth is exponential,” she said.

The opening comes as authorities face record low water levels that have limited the number of ships able to pass through the Panama Canal, which typically handles about six percent of global maritime trade.

Canal administrator Ricaurte Vasquez said last week that he hopes traffic will return to normal by next February.

Leave a Comment