Dubai ports operator DP World is exploring opportunities relating to the expanded Panama Canal, the company has confirmed.
DP World said that its chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, met with Panama President Juan Carlos Varela on Tuesday to discuss potential logistics and industrial parks and other projects in the country.
Panama’s minister of commerce and industry, Augusto R. Arosemena, will also begin a visit to Dubai on Sunday to see Jebel Ali port and discuss "potential opportunities", the firm said.
The $5.25bn Panama Canal expansion opened in June 2016 after more than a decade of construction and will potentially double cargo volumes.
"The expanded Panama Canal has boosted capability to handle increased cargo and larger vessels so the development of logistics and locations for business to take advantage of its increased capabilities are important for the government there," said Sulayem who is also Chairman of Dubai's Ports, Customs and Freezones Corporation, "Our international experience of developing and connecting marine and inland terminals with logistics centres, industrial parks and freezones is something we are exporting around the world and our discussions focused on how we could contribute to the development of the economy and support the business community."
Panama, Bin Sulayem said, is central to the development of trade in the region and a vital artery for commerce – serving surrounding nations and connecting oceans. "Its role as an enabler of trade is key to the development of commerce and economies in the region as well as providing a major global trade route."
DP World’s other operations in Latin America include logistics centres in the Dominican Republic and Peru and a 50-year concession for the under construction deepwater port at Posorja in Ecuador.
DP World currently operates 77 marine and inland terminals across the world.
Trade between Dubai and Panama totalled AED77 million ($20.9m) last year, according to the firm.