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HFW advises Panama Canal Authority on major port PPP

A team of HFW lawyers led by Partners Alex Kyriakoulis and Alistair Mackie, and including Matthew Gore and Joseph Botham are advising the Panama Canal Authority (the ACP) on the development of a new container terminal, part of the wider Panama Canal expansion project.

The long awaited opening of the Panama Canal expansion officially took place on Sunday 26 June. Heralded as a "new era in global trade" the expansion involved the construction of two new locks – the Caribbean-facing Agua Clara locks, and the Pacific-facing Cocoli locks which enable the waterway to handle the passage of bigger ships (from an original capacity of 5,500 TEU vessels to a new capacity of 13,000 TEU vessels).

As part of the Panama Canal's expansion plans, a major new container terminal will be built in the Corozal region adjacent to the canal on the Pacific side. This new terminal will provide additional port capacity and support the transhipment needs of the larger vessels going through the new sets of Canal locks.

The 5.3m TEU terminal will be developed in two phases. The first phase includes the construction and operation of a 3.2m TEU terminal with 1,350m of quay at a 66 hectare-yard area. The second phase will cover 56 hectare and increase capacity by 2.1m TEU. Corozal West Terminal will be developed as a "green port" with environmentally friendly standards to minimize impact on the community and provide solutions to transportation issues, noise and air pollution.

Four major terminal operators have qualified to participate in the tender for this new terminal: APM Terminals B.V. (Netherlands); Terminal Link (France); PSA International Pte., Ltd (Singapore) and Terminal Investment Limited, S.A. (Netherlands). The HFW team are advising the ACP on all aspects of the structuring and grant of the concession to design, develop, finance, construct and operate the new container terminal.

Partner Alex Kyriakoulis commented: "We are delighted to be working closely with the ACP on this important port transaction, which is the first diversification project for the Panama Canal - Corozal West Terminal will no doubt become a precedent for future ACP projects".

HFW has one of the most pre-eminent specialist ports and terminals practices globally and has been at the forefront of legal developments in this sector for many years. The firm has worked on over 100 port projects around the world and the firm's ports and terminals team is one of the largest and most dedicated to the sector of any international law firm. Our experience has been gained not only from our involvement with the world's leading port operators and users, but also through the employment of lawyers and industry experts from terminal operating companies and shipping lines.

For further information please contact: Alex Kyriakoulis, Partner, on +44 (0)20 7264 8782, or email alex.kyriakoulis@hfw.com, or Samantha Maher, Marketing Communications Manager, on
+44 (0)20 7264 8148, or email samantha.maher@hfw.com.

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