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PANAMA - Transport

Stephen Shaffer

President, Colón Container Terminal (CCT)

Bio

Stephen Shaffer is President of CCT Panama. Prior to coming to Panama, he worked as the investment and strategy advisor to Evergreen International, the parent company of Evergreen Marine and the Group’s affiliated terminal and logistics assets. Before joining the Evergreen Group, Shaffer worked at Goldman Sachs and at marine terminal specialist consulting firm Moffatt & Nichol working on terminal projects globally.

"Location is one thing. We are in the same vicinity with two other terminals: PPC Cristobal and MIT."
What benefits can CCT’s clients find in your services and particularities?

Location is one thing. We are in the same vicinity with two other terminals: PPC Cristobal and MIT. We are adjacent to the entrance of the Panama Canal and the Colón Free Zone as well. In terms of geographic location, from a transshipment perspective cargo does not require a free trade zone; it is just transiting. Carriers entering or exiting the Canal can make a decision to reroute or optimize their fleet right there; they do not need to sail all the way into the Caribbean to then make those changes. For carriers, it is a strategic location. For those who use it for distribution, they are close to the main markets, and every carrier in the region calls on one of these three terminals in Colón. Whether a carrier is going to Cristobal, MIT, or CCT, the logistics network for these distribution activities is all in the same place. There is good inbound and outbound connectivity. They are not limited to just one carrier that uses it as a hub. Multiple carriers have their own feeder networks, which means exporters have multiple outbound options to get to their market.

You incorporated a logistics park within CCT. How are the advantages offered similar to those offered by FTZs?

The park was supposed to start in mid-2020, but we were unable to restart construction activities until October that year. Nevertheless, we stuck to the strategy and received the customs permit. The government modified one of the rules related to ports and logistics so that we could operate properly. In the end, we have many of the same tax advantages as other free zones, and our customers can do anything within our park, whether it is light manufacturing, assembly, or others. The beauty of it is that it is all within the same boundary of the terminal. It technically has its own customs officials, and goods are able to move between the warehouse and the terminal without having to go outside the terminal and a different gate. Our strategy was to connect the yard with the park and move it from the stack to the warehouse and back. We have our first tenant signed with more in the pipeline.

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