The estimated number of containers for this year is 225,000, compared to 360,000 containers in 2008.
Reporter Raúl A. Beranl interviewed Thomas Kenna, President of the Panama Canal Railway Company (PCRC), for Prensa.com: “The ships are empty, there just isn’t freight to move, the factories in China are closed and the United States is in its worst crisis in 100 years…with the global recession, commercial transportation is one of the most affected sectors of the economy in any country because people stop buying, and when that happens, there isn't freight for ships, ports, trains, or trucks anymore.”
Rail transport is an important factor for strengthening the country's role as a logistics hub for the Americas.
The Panama Canal Railway Company, administrator of the Panama’s railroads, has invested about $230 million in acquiring modern equipment and improving the infrastructure of the Panama-Colón railway, a key element for a country that is trying to establish itself as the logistics hub of the Americas .
Problems in the computer systems at Balboa port have slowed container cargo on the railroad.
Currently three thousand containers a week are being transported when normally in the same period of the year nearly eight to nine thousand containers a week are mobilized.
Tomás Kenna, president of the Panama Canal Railway, explained that "the problem we are experiencing is with the receipt and delivery of containers at the ports." According to the official, what is happening with the movement of cargo has to do with the implementation of a new computer system at the Port of Balboa, which apparently is having problems attending to boats and trains.
The implementation of a technology system promised to streamline operations in the terminal, but ironically it has stalled operations since last Wednesday.
"There have been normal delays as a product of the transition from the old to the new system, including delays in dispatching containers to the railway," said Rommel Troetsch, head of corporate affairs at Panama Ports Company (PPC), adding that operations should return to normal in the next few days.
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