Panama Ports faces sanctions in dispute with shipping giant

(MENAFN-Panama Newsroom)

A few months after receiving approval from the Board of Directors of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to renew the concession contract for a new period of 25 years, Panama Ports Company (PPC) is denounced by the Swiss shipping company Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) of wanting to impose two companies to receive maintenance and inspection service in refrigerated containers.

This confronts two large companies in the maritime sector, reports La Prensa. PPC is the operator of the port of Balboa and in the past it has shown its power in Panama, stopping the tender process for the port of Corozal, which left the canal, with several lawsuits. Meanwhile, MSC is the world’s largest shipping company by cargo capacity and a Panama Canal customer, which will in future operate a port in Colón, with an investment of $1.2 billion, according to the government. by Laurentino Cortizo.

In a memo sent on 9 orch 2022 to AMP Administrator Noriel Araúz, MSC Vice President of Operations Raffaele Porzio recounted what was happening.

Unprofessional attitudes
“Since January 22 of this year, we have suffered unprofessional attitudes and coercive actions from the concessionaire Panama Ports Company…”, he said.

He describes that PPC began denying entry to companies that provided ancillary shipping services to MSC reefer containers in Panama, for over 9 years, with very confusing arguments.

“PPC tells us that Harbor Shipping Corporation does not have the necessary permits to provide services in Panama, a situation that we do not understand because we have seen all the permits and also a letter asking PPC to give Harbor immediate access to our containers.However, he still refuses to do so.

Refrigerated containers carry highly sensitive perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, and the like, but they can also be breached for the transport of illegal substances or even human organs, for which the shipping company says it makes sure to have a certified company to give it’s maintenance when they are in port.

“PPC obliges us to perform the aforementioned services with two companies (Serviestiba and Chaplaire) that we do not know, have not certified and do not trust in the safety of our equipment and goods. As users of the Panama hub, we feel we have been extorted…”, he warns, imposing a local company with which MSC has no contractual relationship.

He adds that all of this has brought him many problems with containers, such as reports and lack of information, “dramatically affecting our operation and, more importantly, breaking our chain of security. Therefore, this issue is crucial for us.

The issue had already been raised with the AMP last January by the auxiliary maritime service companies, which are the ones that provide the service to MSC.

AMP sent a memo to Jared Zerbe, managing director of PPC, in which it stated that as a concessionaire, one of its obligations is to allow third parties to use the existing port, in accordance with the rules and regulations that govern the country.

AMP reminded PPC that Law 56 of 2008 establishes that Concessionaires will facilitate access to the port area they operate to authorized maritime service providers.

“In this sense, we strongly draw attention to the company you represent, since the access restriction to which we have referred may configure behavior that violates our regulations, which may result in sanctions from this entity,” says the AMP.

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