Panama Leads the World in Flagged Ships. Casco Viejo is Hot. Plus, we show you the cheapest way to get to Colombia – Weekly News Roundup, August 8th.

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup. Casco is booming, cheap flights to Colombia finally take the air, and find out why Panama has the most registered ships in the world. Here’s the latest:

Why So Many Ship Owners Find Panama’s Flag Convenient

We all know how important Panama is to global shipping. But did you know that it also has the largest shipping fleet in the world? So large, in fact, that it surpasses both the US and China. This is not to say that all of these ships are docked in Panama, but rather, they bare the flag and are registered in the country as their homeport.

Most merchant ships flying Panama’s flag belong to foreign owners wishing to avoid the stricter marine regulations imposed by their own countries. Panama operates what is known as an open registry. Its flag offers the advantages of easier registration (often online) and the ability to employ cheaper foreign labour.

Furthermore the foreign owners pay no income taxes. About 8,600 ships fly the Panamanian flag. By comparison, the US has around 3,400 registered vessels and China just over 3,700. Under international law, every merchant ship must be registered with a country, known as its flag state. That country has jurisdiction over the vessel and is responsible for inspecting that it is safe to sail and to check on the crew’s working conditions.

Source: BBC News


Allianz Specialty Reports on ‘Billion Dollar Challenge’ from Panama Canal Expansion

With big moves come big risks, and many in the insurance industry are preparing for just that with the Panama Canal Expansion Project. The bottom line is that bigger better ships and cargo are worth more money, and a new report is laying out just how much that increased risk will cost.

The report notes that every year, “over 12,000 oceangoing ships navigate the canal, a figure which could increase significantly following the anticipated opening of the new locks in 2015. It is forecast the expansion will enable between 12 and 14 larger vessels per day (approximately 4,750 additional ships per year) to pass through the canal. Significantly, many of these ships are expected to be new-Panamax class container vessels of 12,600 teu4, which are far larger than the existing largest vessels able to access the canal (4,400 teu).”

The expansion of the canal’s capacity will bring new risks. AGCS noted that “with approximately 3 percent ($270 billion) of world maritime commerce ($9 trillion) already transiting the Panama Canal every year, the safe passage of vessels is critical.” Experts, however have warned that the ‘increased traffic and larger vessels may challenge the Panama Canal’s improved safety record over the past decade with the risks exacerbated through the initial period of the canal opening.”

Source: Insurance Journal


VivaColombia Enters Panama With Two Routes to Panama City/Balboa

They’ve been hyping it for months already, but now it’s official. Budget flights from Bogota and Medellin, Colombia have started regular routes into Panama. The flights tout fares as low as $120 round-trip, and are looking to capitalize on a market that has high demand for travel between the two neighboring nations.

VivaColombia entered the Panamanian market with two new routes to Panama City/Balboa (BLB) on 1 August. With the addition of daily flights from Bogota (BOG) and the launch of four weekly services from Medellin (MDE), both routes to the district located at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal will be operated by the Colombian low-cost carrier’s 180-seat A320s. No other airlines serve any of the new airport pairs.

Source: Anna Aero


Casco Viejo, Panama: A modern renaissance in the Old City

One of Panama City’s oldest, and most historic neighborhoods is going through a renaissance. Home to the city’s best bars, restaurants, nightlife, and architecture, Casco is THE place to be these days. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect, and what kind of impact the boom is making on the local economy.

Because of the recent abundance of high-end hotels, bars, and restaurants, Casco Viejo’s economy has been booming as of late. In a recent article from, they estimate that a typical weekend night can generate close to a quarter of a million dollars in revenue amongst local businesses. They also claim that a top bar or restaurant can make as much as $25,000 of that alone. Because of this, many of the region, and the city’s top chefs and hoteliers are opening shop in the old city.

The economic boom is also creating jobs, which are sorely needed in the area, as Casco Viejo borders some of the city’s most impoverished neighborhoods. And that’s not the only way local businesses are giving back to the community.

Read more about Casco Viejo 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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