(Detailed PDF map)
Container Traffic at Main Ports around the Panama Canal
With the growth of transpacific trade, the port dynamics around the Panama Canal has substantially evolved but at a different pace and for different factors. Most of the growth took place within Panama and is based on three vectors of maritime connectivity. This first is the one provided by the Panama Canal itself, connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans and thus  providing a continuity in deep-sea maritime shipping services. The second and third vectors of connectivity relate to the transshipment functions performed on both the Pacific and Atlantic facades on the canal. The Colon port cluster used to be the main center of activity, but mostly as a domestic port servicing the Colon Free Trade Zone. However, in the early 2000s, the growth in transshipment enabled the setting of Balboa as a new hub, which grew on par with Colon to become the two most important transshipment hubs in the region. Cartagena was also able to become a transshipment hub in the late 2000s, in part due to its accessibility to the Caribbean market and its own national market. Other main ports such as Buenaventura and Puerto Limon grew organically with the dynamism of their hinterlands.