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American Shipper

Panama Canal, S.C. ports extend cooperative agreement

Panama Canal, S.C. ports extend cooperative agreement

The Panama Canal Authority and the South Carolina State Ports Authority, which owns and operates the Port of Charleston, have formally renewed a memorandum of understanding for three years, a move intended to help the two entities increase cooperation and information sharing.

   The ACP and the SCSPA will collaborate on joint marketing efforts, exchange of data, market studies, expansion plans, training and technology. This newly extended partnership also will seek to grow the increasingly important 'all-water route' from Asia to the U.S. East Coast via the Panama Canal. Major products traveling through the Panama Canal via Charleston include household products, such as furniture, machinery, forest products and consumer goods.

   The agreement was first signed in July 2003.

   'Through the renewal of this MOU with the South Carolina State Ports Authority, we are investing in a strong partnership based on close strategic coordination,' said Alberto Alem'n Zubieta, ACP administrator and chief executive officer, in a statement. 'This alliance is grounded in our common mission to provide the best service available to our customers and contribute to the growth in trade and commerce of our respective communities, and the industry, through key modernization projects and improvement.'

   The area within 60 miles of the Port of Charleston is set to gain more than 20 million square feet of industrial distribution and manufacturing capacity, plus a 1,300-acre logistics center in Orangeburg County. Many local and international companies are investing millions of dollars in the state to take advantage of strategic access to efficient seaport facilities, major transportation corridors and access to 60 million consumers within a 500-mile radius.

   The Port of Charleston is laying the groundwork to prepare for the bigger vessels that will transit the expanded canal. The Port of Charleston has a 45-foot water draft at low water and already handles vessels with drafts of 42 feet and greater. Post-Panamax ships make routine first-in and last-out calls in Charleston.

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