The Panama Ports Company (PPC), a subsidiary of the HPH Group, manages the ports at either end of the Panama Canal, the Port of Balboa (on the Pacific side) and the Port of Cristobal. PPC operates by concession granted by the Panamanian government in 1997. The PPC hopes to transform both ports into “mega-ports” and to increase capacity to 6.5 million TEUs per year. The PPC’s objective is to facilitate global commerce and strengthen the global economy by developing modern port facilities, infrastructures, and services.
The Port of Cristobal covers an area of 143 hectares. It contains two container berths, seven multi-purpose berths, and two additional berths. The 11 berths in the Port of Cristobal have a combined length of 3750 meters with alongside depths ranging from 12 to over 14 meters. The container berths at the Port of Cristobal are equipped with six container quay cranes, and the Port of Cristobal has a harbor crane and ten rubber-tired gantry cranes. The container freight station covers 6.1 thousand square meters, and the Port of Cristobal contains warehouse space of 11.8 thousand square meters.
In 2005, expansions of the Port of Cristobal began that will add 660 meters of deep-water quays, 7 gantry cranes, 18 rubber-tired gantry cranes, and six hectares of warehouse space.
The Port of Cristobal Cruise Terminal, located at Pier 6, was opened in 2000. Since it opened, more than 450 cruise ships have brought about 780 thousand passengers to the Port of Cristobal. The handicap-accessible Cruise Terminal offers the full range of conveniences including first aid and business centers, a duty-free plaza, an arts and crafts center, sit-down and fast-food restaurants, bars, and a covered area for tour groups. Vessels must ask for shore gangways before they arrive at the Port of Cristobal.