Panama Canal Expansion to open in Q2, 2016. – Weekly News Roundup, January 22nd.

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Panama locks opening now expected in second quarter

After two years of delays, and moths of speculation on the new opening timeframe for the Panama Canal expansion project, the official word is that the opening will take place in Q2, 2016.

“We expect it to be open for commercial business sometime in the second half,” said Francisco J. Miguez, executive vice president for finance and administration at the Panama Canal Authority, in a speech at the SMC3 JumpStart 2016 supply-chain conference in Atlanta. The authority later issued a clarification stating the canal would be completed in the second quarter.

Miguez said canal officials hope to be able to set a more precise opening date by late February, after the contractor, GUPC, certifies that the locks are operational, and the canal authority has conducted tests. The canal has been aiming for an April opening of the new locks, which will accommodate container ships with capacities of up to 14,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units, nearly triple the capacity of the canal’s century-old existing locks.



6 Reasons To Visit Panama This Spring

Panama has been getting a lot of international press recently, especially when it comes to traveling to Panama, retiring to Panama, and relocating to Panama. This month, Huffington Post Canada put together a great 6-point list on why you should choose Panama as your go-to destination this spring (or anytime, really).

Panama should be on your list of places to visit in 2016, and it should probably be the place you visit first. This Central American country, loaded with history, tropical beaches, Latin culture, and outdoor adventures, packs a lot of vacation-worthy punch for its small size.

The country’s use of the U.S. dollar, convenient distance from the U.S. and Canada and affordable accommodation, food and transportation prices set it above other Central American countries. Panama’s tourist hotspots don’t attract the attention that other Latin American tourist destinations do (think Costa Rica, Belize, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas), so you can experience true Panamanian culture without camera flashes and selfie sticks.

Source: Huffington Post Canada


U.S. Ambassador to Panama: Who Is John Feeley?

Recently, the United States appointed a new Ambassador to Panama to lead the country’s long-standing diplomatic relations with the Central American nation. He has years of experience in Latin America, and is looking forward to continuing the great relationship Panama and the United States share with each other. Here’s an intro to Ambassador John Feeley. 

Feeley attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and is a 2004 Distinguished Graduate of the National War College. Before joining the State Department, Feeley was a Marine Corps helicopter pilot from 1983 to 1990.

Feeley’s career has been focused on the Western Hemisphere. His early assignments included Colombia and the Dominican Republic, as well as stints in Washington at the State Department operations center. In 1998, Feeley was appointed Policy Planning Officer in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs and in 1999 he was made executive assistant in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. The following year he became deputy director in the Office of Caribbean Affairs.



Mobile Pay, E-Commerce Gain Momentum in Panama

The consumer and services market is huge in Panama these days, and to keep up with its fast pace, the way people buy and deliver products and services is changing. Mobile pay and e-commerce are on the rise in Panama, and if market indicators are a sign of the future, you’ll see a lot more of this to come in the next few years. Here’s more from our blog.

One of the main reasons Panama is primed for mobile pay and e-commerce is its smartphone saturation. In Panama, smartphone penetration is close to 100%, meaning that nearly every person within the demo of a smartphone user owns and uses one. And that’s huge for business in 2016. Being able to buy, research, and pay for products/services on your smartphone makes business more efficient for the Panamanian consumer, even if it’s something they’re not used to. There’s lots of room to grow and innovate because the market is already there. Purchasing power is expanded greatly with smartphones, and when combined with easy mobile payment solutions, the possibilities are endless for the market.

Continue reading about e-commerce in Panama.

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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