What We Can Look Forward to in Panama in 2016




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The holiday season is in full swing in Panama, and that means that we’re approaching the end to another exciting year. As with many of the years previous, a lot has changed over the course of 12 months in Panama, and 2016 is looking to be even bigger. Panama is a country of growth, and despite a few economic hiccups in 2014 and 2015; financial analysts still predict healthy growth in the New Year. But it’s not just about the economy when it comes to living and investing in Panama. Quality of life is equally important, for both expats and locals, and in that regard, 2016 looks pretty bright too. Here are some of the things we have to look forward to as we move into the New Year.

Completion of the Panama Canal Expansion

One of the most anticipated events of 2016 will be the opening of the newest expansion project on the Panama Canal. Originally slated for 2014, serious delays have dampened a bit of the excitement. However, with so much at stake for Panama’s economy and global trade, the scheduled 2016 opening should be a very big deal. The new Canal will more than double capacity for large shipping vessels, and increase both tax revenue, and private investment into Panama.

The World’s Longest Non-Stop Flight

This past summer, Emirates Airlines announced a major new flight route that will connect Latin America and the Middle East; and that route will begin in Panama. As of February, Emirates will offer non-stop service between Panama City and Dubai, which will become the first flight to the UAE directly from Latin America. This flight will take roughly 17 hours, and become the longest route in the world. It will also open some huge business opportunities for not only Panama, but all of Central America, as Panama will become the hub for Middle East/LatAm trade and international business.

Panama’s Metro Line 2 Breaks Ground

The Metro (Subway) of Panama was one of the biggest infrastructure accomplishments in the capital over the past few years, and 2014’s Line 1 opening was a major success. In 2016, construction will begin on Panama’s Metro Line 2, which will connect the geographic center of Panama City with the eastern coastal suburbs near the airport. The new Line 2 will connect with Line 1 for transfers, and open up another very large area to clean, efficient, and quick transportation. This is vital to Panama City, as traffic density contributes to up to 20 hours of lost time (and stress) each week for many of the city’s suburban residents.

Continued New Real Estate Development in All Sectors

Panama’s real estate market is steamrolling its way into 2016 with a number of big projects across the country. This includes a major affordable housing project in Panama Oeste, new hotels on Panama’s Pacific Coast, and the completion of the first phase of Ocean Reef Islands, Panama’s premier man-made island luxury residences in the bay. Regardless of a slight slow down in economic growth, Panama continues to grow and improve its real estate. And that’s a great sign for the future. Improved infrastructure, new homes, and new commercial space will be made to help entice foreign and domestic investment, and to diversify the economy to newer, more innovative businesses and residents.

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, Panama Offshore Legal Services 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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