Panama Canal strikes deal to optimise COVID-19 vaccine supply chain

Panama Canal signs deal with PSA to optimise vaccine supply chain

The Panama Canal has signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Panama Ports Company (PPC) and PSA Panama International Terminal (PSA Panama) to help optimise supply routes for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and supplies to Latin America.

In a statement, the Panama Canal Authority said the country’s logistics capabilities and location at the crossroads of the Americas make it uniquely positioned to assist in meeting the demand imposed on supply chains by the worldwide pandemic.

As part of the agreement, the Panama Canal, PPC and PSA Panama have agreed to undertake joint initiatives to establish an alliance of cooperation and explore working together to form a logistic hub on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal for the storage and distribution of the vaccine and supplies for the region. 

Panama Canal Administrator Ricaurte Vásquez Morale said, “By forging this partnership, we aim to affirm Panama’s contributions to overcoming this global challenge.

“We have served the world throughout this global pandemic and together will facilitate its swift recovery through our combined capabilities as the logistics hub for the region.”

The Panama Canal will look into the development of additional facilities to store and/or break-bulk vaccine cargoes, as well as power sources or redundancies and connection roads to both terminals on the Pacific side. 

Jared Zerbe, CEO, Panama Ports Company (PPC), also commented, “With this partnership, PPC reiterates its commitment to continue supporting the country when it needs it the most.

“We will provide the necessary infrastructure and logistics management capabilities through our port equipment, state-of-the-art technological tools and above all with the experience and leadership in the region of our staff in the management of refrigerated containers, a fundamental piece in the transfer and storage of vaccines.”

Alessandro Cassinelli, PSA Panama International Terminal’s General Manager, was quoted as saying, “Once again, the Pacific of Panama will prove its pivotal role in the logistic of the supply chain of the Americas.

“This time with an even more complicated but honorable cause which is the receipt and distribution of the vaccine that will help mitigate the devastating worldwide effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“PSA Panama is proud to play a part in the handling and distribution of the vaccines in Panama. We are ready to offer our combined expertise and the passion of our people coupled with our state of art infrastructure for the greater good.”

PSA Panama and PPC will cooperate with the design and equipment necessary to transport the containers with the vaccine between the terminals and the facilities. The ports will also provide operational expertise to explore their current terminal’s capacities to handle increased refrigerated containers. 

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