PANAMA : A few months after receiving the approval of the board of directors of the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) to renew the concession contract for another 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 the 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 showed its power in Panama, by stopping the bidding process for the port of Corozal, which left the Canal, with several lawsuits. Meanwhile, MSC is the largest shipping company in the world in cargo capacity and a client of the Panama Canal, which in the future will operate a port in Colón, with an investment of $1.2 billion, according to the government of Laurentino Cortizo.
In a note sent orch 9, 2022 to the administrator of the AMP, Noriel Araúz, the vice president of operations of the MSC, Raffaele Porzio, recounted what was happening.
“Since January 22 of this year we have been experiencing unprofessional attitudes and coercive actions by the concessionaire Panama Ports Company…”, he said.
It describes that PPC began to deny entry to companies that have been providing auxiliary maritime services to MSC reefer containers in Panama, for more than 9 years, with very confusing arguments.
“PPC is telling 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 instructing PPC to give Harbor immediate access to our containers. However, it still refuses to do so.”
Refrigerated containers transport very sensitive perishable products such as fruits, vegetables, and others, but they can also be violated for the transport of illegal substances or even human organs, for which the shipping company affirms that it is careful to have a certified company to give it the maintenance when they are in port.
“PPC is forcing 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 a user of the Panama hub, we feel that we have been extorted…”, he warns, by imposing a local company with which MSC has no contractual relationship.
He adds that all this has brought him many problems with containers, such as reporting and lack of information, “dramatically affecting our operation and, more importantly, breaking our security chain. Therefore, this matter 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 note to Jared Zerbe, general manager of PPC, in which it indicates 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.
The AMP reminded PPC that Law 56, of 2008, establishes that the concessionaires will facilitate access to the port area they operate to those maritime service providers that are authorized.
“In this sense, we make a strong call to attention to the company that you represent, since the restriction of access to which we have referred can configure a behavior that violates our regulations, which can lead to sanctions by this entity”, says the AMP.