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Panama, an International Maritime Hub

The experience, professionalism, efficiency and valuable comparative and competitive advantages, are the basis that support the Panamanian Open Registry of Vessels in its condition of a country that is world leader in registration of vessels, with more than 75 years of experience.

Due to the several advantages offered by the Registry of Vessels of Panama, our country has many vessels registered under its flag. Among the most important advantages offered by the Panamanian Registry we may highlight the speed and simplicity of the registration procedure, there are no restrictions concerning the vessel’s owner (may be a natural or legal person, national or foreigner), it allows double registration of vessels (a foreign ship, if subjected to a Contract of Charter, may be registered in Panama without losing its previous registration and vice versa, as long as the legislation of the other country allows it), it has a trustworthy and secure system of naval mortgages, allows the registration of vessels under construction, it has no restrictions regarding ships’ tonnage, offers discounts for newly constructed ships that belong to the same group and comply with some requisites, among other conveniences.

Third set of locks in the Panama Canal

With the project of the third set of locks there will be capacity to manage container ships of up to 12,000 TEUs with a maximum of dimensions of 49 m (160’) of breadth, 366 m (1,200’) of length, and 15 m (50’) of depth and other types of ships of up to 170,000 tonnages of deadweight; with a breadth between 270 and 280 m and; length between 40 and 45 m. The Canal, widened with a third set of locks, will have a maximum sustainable capacity of approximately 600 millions of tonnages CPSUAB per year, enough to meet the demand in the years further than 2025.

One of the sets of locks will be located on the Pacific Ocean, at the southwest of the Miraflores Locks. The other will be located at the east of the Gatun locks.

Objective of the project:

The project of the third set of locks has the following objectives:


  • • To make increasing and sustainable contributions from the Canal to the National Treasury
  • • To safeguard the competitiveness of the Canal as well as the value of the maritime route through the Panama Canal
  • • To increase the capacity in order to meet the growing demand with appropriate standards of service
  • • To make the Canal more productive, safe and efficient.


The project of the third set of locks includes three main components:


  • 1. An additional lane of locks separated into two sets of locks of three steps each set and provided with tubs for water reutilization.
  • 2. Access banks to the new locks, along with the widening and deepening of the present navigation banks.
  • 3. Raising the maximum operating level of the Gatun Lake.


Geographical position

Due to its geographical position, Panama has been considered a country of exchange and services with a maritime tradition, from colonial times, truly being distinguished among the nations of the world. We can assert that Panama “serves as a bridge between the Western World and the Far East, as well as between North and South America”. The Republic of Panama keeps an Open Registry of Vessels, which is considered “well organized in order to meet the global demand, which is increasingly larger”.

Geographical location

Panama borders to the North on the Caribbean Sea, to the South on the Pacific Ocean, to the East on the Republic of Colombia and to the West on the Republic of Costa Rica.


Panama has during all the days of the year in its low lands a tropical climate and in its high lands a temperate climate. In the low regions the temperature is of 29°C and in the highlands it is about 18°C.