CARGO volumes in Panamanian ports grew 15.9 per cent during January-May despite the Covid-19 pandemic, reported Colchester's Seatrade Maritime News.
According to the Panama Maritime Authority the first five months saw 3.26 million TEU lifted compared to 2.78 million TEU the year before. Vehicles fell by 47 per cent to 39,960 units during the period compared to 74,187 vehicles the year before.
Manzanillo International Terminal (MIT-Panama) moved 1.08 million TEU, up 18.2 per cent while Panama Ports' Pacific Terminal Balboa volumes increased by 9.5 per cent to 807,7265 TEU and its Atlantic terminal Cristobal cargo also grew 18.1 per cent to 475,804 TEU.
At Evergreen's Colon Container Terminal (CCT) volumes fell 4.2 per cent to 293,899 TEU and Bocas Fruit, a small fruit exporter port, grew 69.9 per cent to 49,838 TEU.
"Ocean carriers' network changes happen around April each year. In 2019, Maersk/Hamburg Sud, CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd each went through network re-design as a result of the Eurosal service's Hamburg Sud withdrawal," said MIT marketing chief Juan Carlos Croston.
"The changes resulted in the creation of 400,000 TEU per year of transshipment cargo that mostly benefitted Panama and Colombia [Cartagena]," he said.
"In the case of MIT, 2020 volume through May, has benefitted from those 2019 changes. We do project a very different second half volume to be impacted by the economic downturn," said Mr Croston, who is also president of the Caribbean Shipping Association.