The Panama Ports Company (PPC) has been the responsible for managing the ports at either end of the Panama Canal, the Port of Balboa and the Port of Cristobal. The company operates by concession granted by the government of Panama in 1997. A subsidiary of the Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) Group, the PPC is transforming both the ports into "mega-ports" to increase capacity to 6.5 million TEUs per year. The PPC's objective is to facilitate global commerce and economy growth by developing and modernizing the ports' infrastructures and services.
Since it was opened in late 2000, the Port of Balboa container terminal has been recognized as one of Panama's most important terminals. Within its first six months of operations, the Port of Balboa container terminal had handled 380 thousand TEUs, its maximum capacity. Expansion projects modernized the port, and a renewed, larger-capacity facility began operating in early 2005.
The Port of Balboa covers 182 hectares and contains five berths for containers and two multi-purpose berths. In total, the berths are over 2.3 thousand meters long (7.4 thousand feet) with alongside depth of 17 meters (55.8 feet). The Port of Balboa has four super post-Panamax, ten post-Panamax, and eight Panamax quay cranes. The Port of Balboa is also equipped with 51 rubber-tyred gantry cranes, i reachstackers, 19 empty container handlers, and 21 forklifts. The Port of Balboa also contains 2.1 thousand square meters (22.6 thousand square feet) of warehouse space.
The Port of Balboa is strategically positioned to be a major player in world commerce and transportation. The world's biggest shipping lines call on the port regularly, and the Port of Balboa handles a third of all cargo moving through Panama's ports. In 2007, the Port of Balboa had total capacity to handle 2.5 million TEUs of containerized cargo. In 2007, it received the Maersk Seletar, the first post-Panamax vessel with capacity for 6500 TEUs. Also in 2007, it started weekly service to post-Panamax ships operating between Asia and the west coast of Latin America. The Port of Balboa is also a cargo hub for South America and the Caribbean.
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