BoardMarine Accident Investigators Forum in Asia

Subject“Yes” Vote for Panama Canal Expansion Hit1565
WriterLee Min Jung Date2006.10.24

Monday, 23 October 2006 <br /> <br />AMANIANS yesterday voted overwhelmingly in favour of the planned $5.25bn expansion of the Panama Canal<br> in a national referendum. <br /> <br />The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) presented its formal proposal to the Panamanian government in April but,<br> according to the country's constitution, the massive project had to be put to a vote in a popular referendum. As<br> of 21:30 (LT) yesterday it appeared that 78% had voted for expansion. <br /> <br />"Today, Panamanians made history. We are honoured by their trust and humbled by the responsibility in front<br> of us," said Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, chairman of the ACP's board of directors and also minister for Canal<br> affairs. "We spent years studying, researching and preparing and we are ready. This project will be done efficiently<br> and transparently. With this vote, the Canal will be able to grow with demand, improve service, spur economic<br> growth in Panama and maintain the Canal's competitive advantage," Vásquez added. <br /> <br />Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, <br>which will double capacity and allow more traffic and wider ships. The Panama Canal is nearing maximum <br>capacity and needs to grow with demand. The expansion will be paid by Canal customers through a system of<br> graduated toll increases. <br /> <br />"We are proud and energized by the confidence in us that Panamanians showed today. The project will benefit<br> the people of Panama, the shipping/maritime industry and world trade. Panama's geographic location is its<br> destiny - we aim to be at the centre of global trade and become a great maritime hub," said Alberto Alemán Zubieta, <br>ACP administrator/CEO. "Expansion will be a principles-driven project - we are committed to transparency, <br>efficiency and environmental sustainability. This will guide our vision and direction."

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