Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2011.
The Port of Balboa, operated by Hutchinson Port Holdings (HPH) is
an important transshipment hub on the Pacific side of the Panama
Canal. It handled 2.75 million TEUs in 2010, but the port is close
to capacity and with limited options for expansion. The ship in the
middle (blue color) is operated by Maersk line and is of post-panamax
design, implying that it cannot enter the Panama Canal (which begins
on the left side of the photo). The transshipped containers can
either be placed on another ship or on the Panama Canal Railway
which has an intermodal terminal immediately adjacent to the port.
Through this rail connection, a container can be brought to the port
of Colon on the Atlantic side of the canal. In 2015, a new container
port expansion project was approved at Corozal, just upstream of the
port of Balboa,
on 120 hectares of land that used to belong to the US Army, and which has been
administered by the Panama Canal Authority since the hand over of the
canal zone to the Panamanian government in 1999. The expansion is
expected to add about 5.2 million TEUs of capacity in two phases.