Manzanillo International Terminal
Review and History

Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT) is located on Manzanillo Bay at the eastern mouth of the Panama Canal adjacent to the Colon Container Terminal in Colon, Panama. The Manzanillo International Terminal opened for operations in 1995 next to the Colon Free Trade Zone. Manzanillo International Terminal - Panama, S.A. is the port authority for the Manzanillo International Terminal. Manzanillo International Terminal is one of the largest container transshipment terminals in Central America.

During World War II, the site of today's Manzanillo International Terminal was a US Navy Seaplane Base called Coco Solo Sur. In 1977, the property reverted to Panama under the conditions of the Torrijos-Carter treaties.

In the 1980s, the future Manzanillo International Terminal was a vehicle storage and distribution facility for Latin America. To avoid the high costs of moving cars to and from the Port of Cristobal, a roll-on/roll-off berth was constructed at the facility, allowing for the on-site import and export of vehicles and bringing the Manzanillo International Terminal into existence.

In 1993, the berth was expanded into a world-class container transshipment facility when multi-national SSA Marine became a participant in the Manzanillo International Terminal. Manzanillo International Terminal is a joint venture between Seattle-based Carrix's SSA Marine and the Heilbron (owners of Copa Airlines) and Motta families. When it began operations, the Manzanillo International Terminal had more than 800 meters (2625 feet) of berths, a modern automated terminal management system, and ship-to-shore gantry cranes.

Today, the Manzanillo International Terminal employs over one thousand employees and offers some of the most modern facilities and equipment available in the region. The Manzanillo International Terminal is Latin America's biggest and most productive container transshipment terminals. Customers receive secure and efficient services that include 24/7 security, on-site office space, fully-automated vessel and gate systems, and container maintenance and repair.

Manzanillo International Terminal has been recognized for its outstanding operations. Containerization International, a leading analytical and news service, named Manzanillo International Terminal as one of the top ten efficient ports in the world. The Caribbean Shipping Association has also honored Manzanillo International Terminal three times. In 1999 and 2000, Manzanillo International Terminal was named Best Caribbean Port of the Year, and it was named Best Container Terminal in 2004.

Manzanillo International Terminal works closely with Panamanian agencies to assure efficient container and cargo clearances. Panama's Customs and Quarantine services have offices at the Manzanillo International Terminal and can register clearances on the Mainsail computer system. The Ministry of Agricultural Development has designated Manzanillo International Terminal a phyto-zoosanitary zone, authorizing it to handle sensitive agricultural products including, but not limited to, cowhides and coffee.

The Manzanillo International Terminal Logistics Park provides commercial facilities for multi-national companies and is an efficient and cost-effective distribution center for Caribbean and South American markets. Facilities at the Manzanillo International Terminal Logistics Park support cargo sorting, grading, packing and re-packing, assembly, labeling, transit, and storage. Located in the customs area, the Manzanillo International Terminal Logistics Park allows for the easy movement of shipments from the container terminal and secure storage of inventories. The park offers multi-modal infrastructure with integrated ocean, rail, and air transportation facilities.

In 2011, Manzanillo International Terminal served 2718 vessels carrying 1.9 million TEUs of containerized cargo and 137.4 thousand roll-on/roll-off units.

The Manzanillo International Terminal is located at the Atlantic Ocean entrance of the Panama Canal next to the Colon Free Trade Zone. The entrance to Manzanillo International Terminal is 200 meters (656 feet) wide, and the access channel is 14 meters (45.9 feet) deep. The Manzanillo International Terminal turning basin has a 600-meter (1968-foot) diameter.

Manzanillo International Terminal covers an area of 52 hectares. Manzanillo International Terminal contains a 1240-meter (4068-foot) contiguous container berth with alongside depth of 14 meters (45.9 feet) and an additional container berth with berthing distance of 400 meters (1312 feet) with alongside depth of 12.5 meters (41 feet).

Manzanillo International Terminal has a 300-meter (984-foot) roll-on/roll-off berth with alongside depth of 12.5 meters (41 feet). Manzanillo International Terminal also has a combined general purpose and roll-on/roll-off berth with berthing distance of 140 meters (459.3 feet) and alongside depth of 12 meters (39.4 feet) that is equipped with fender extensions that can accommodate vessels to 230 meters (754.6 feet) in length.

The Manzanillo International Terminal has storage capacity for 48 thousand TEUs with connections for more than 1500 refrigerated containers. The container repair yard covers 15 thousand square meters (16.1 thousand square feet) and includes a 1300-square-meter (14-thousand-square-foot) covered repair facility.

Manzanillo International Terminal is equipped with 17 ship-to-shore gantry cranes, including two Panamax cranes with 13-container reach, six post-Panamax cranes with 17-container reach, five super-post-Panamax cranes with 18-container reach, and four super-post-Panamax cranes with 22-container reach. Manzanillo International Terminal has 27 rubber tyred gantry cranes, 20 top-picks, and 22 side-picks. Manzanillo International Terminal's fleet also includes 86 terminal tractors, 94 bombcarts, and 45 forklifts with capacity from three to 30 tons).

Manzanillo International Terminal operates top-notch port security that complies with all requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS), the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce (BASC), and the US Customs' Super Carrier Initiative Agreement. Manzanillo International Terminal employs more than 150 security employees assuring security for terminal and ships. It has an on-site K-9 Unit with anti-narcotics, explosives, and patrol dogs. Security is further enhanced by the Manzanillo International Terminal's automated access control and instruction detection system and a modern monitoring and control system.

The Manzanillo International Terminal main gate contains five outbound and five inbound lanes. Two inbound scales enter weight readings directly to the terminal's automated information systems and store weight data with the gate transaction data. Manzanillo International Terminal's pre-gate facility enables timely processing of documents and paperwork. Also located at the pre-gate facility are offices for customs, quarantine, and demurrage. The Manzanillo International Terminal also has direct access to the Colon Free Trade Zone through a gate designed for both import and export transactions.

Manzanillo International Terminal's Information Systems department employs the latest technology to manage the port and monitor cargo movements. The systems provide customers with timely high-quality technical information needed for decision-making. The Mainsail system is the main port terminal management system integrating all import, export, and transshipment data including yard, gate, vessel, and rail operations. Mainsail Online is a web-based system that allows customers to access transactions and container-related information via the Internet.

The Spinnaker system maintains planning information related to vessel class design, vessel discharging, vessel stowing and pre-stowing, and yard and rail services. Manzanillo International Terminal operates a real-time traffic control system supported by GPS devices that allows the port to maintain accurate real-time information on yard inventory that is transmitted to the Mainsail and Spinnaker databases and on computers installed on all container-handling equipment. Edify and Forecast are community-based systems that allow trucking companies and other third parties to access Manzanillo International Terminal information.

The Grasp reefer container monitoring system also offers remote access to temperature readings to assure continual supervision of the reefer service. Ability to monitor refrigerated equipment supports timely performance inspections, preventative maintenance, and damage repairs 24 hours a day. Manzanillo International Terminal is a licensed distribution and service center for Carrier-Transicold and Daikin.

In 1998, the Panama Canal Railway Company was awarded a 50-year concession to rebuild and operate the Manzanillo International Terminal intermodal rail ramp. The company is a joint venture between the United States' Kansas City Southern Railways and Mi-Jack Intermodal, an Illinois-based railroad terminal operator and equipment manufacturer.

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