Five years ago, the Logistic Business Council was created in Panama with the aim of bringing together all the players in the chain, supporting the government on issues that affect the sector, and extending Panama's position as one of the region's prime logistics centers. The council's president, Enrique Clement, spoke with Latin Trade about its achievements and challenges.
What are the main initiatives that the Logistic Council has developed?
The most important is the national logistics strategy 2030, a roadmap passed into law that serves as a guide for the coming years. Achievements include the single national maritime pay window, which saves time for shipping lines that call at Panama. For example, it enables them to process ships' cargo electronically, and to make a single payment to the government without having to make four or five different payments for the same paperwork. It is focused on getting rid of documents and improving customs procedure.
What are your biggest challenges?
The International Cargo Airport of Tocumen and the customs sector, where there is still a lot to do. There are many institutions managing containers. There should be only one. Also, to avoid a situation where the next government (presidential elections in Panama are in May 2019) comes in with new policies and wants to change everything that we have been working for in the last six years.
What are the prospects for the next five years?
We want Panama to be positioned as a major hub to attract multinationals, to no longer be just a service country, and to start producing cargo, to innovate.
What competitive advantages do you offer shipping lines so that their vessels call at Panama?
We have to provide incentives not for...