United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development


ASHGABAT, 26-27 NOVEMBER 2016 --ÿ--
Permanent Representative of Panama
to the United Nations at Geneva
This first Global Conference on Sustainable Transport has been convened by
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, asserting the need to understand
what has been called the "cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport" and its
impact on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Addressing all modes of international and urban transport systems under concern
will require close and continued communication among our countries, because the
global dependence on the international aspects of trade can easily be disrupted,
for example, by dysfunctional urban sectors that serve it. This is in addition to the
known fact that, as stated in the outcome document of the 2012 Rio+20
Conference on Sustainable Development, transportation and mobility are central to
marking the route for stopping congestion, pollution and other factors that are
obstacles in achieving livable cities and countries.
In the international area, the Panama Canal, the only international waterway with
port terminals in two oceans, has an undisputed effect on world economic and
commercial development. Our Canal has changed world trade patterns, spiraled
growth in more advanced countries, and has given great impulse to the
international and coasting trade of our neighbors. Now, with the recently
inaugurated expansion of the Canal, Panama will enhance the level of customer
service and product delivery, while imposing high standards of environmental
The existence of an Environmental Premium Ranking classification incentive in the
Panama Canal is intended to favor clients in their reservation of transit positions.
In addition, the program rewards with percentage points the use of new
technologies and standards that help reduce greenhouse gas effects. While
participation in this program is not compulsory, we feel that the transport sector,
which is responsible for 25% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions
worldwide, will recognize what we are offering as a valid response to climate
The Panama Canal, being foremost in our contribution to international commerce,
has doubled its capacity with the new expansion, impacting economies of scale in
an efficient, sustainable and reliable manner. The new locks will accommodate
container ships that carry between13,000 and 14,000 TEU's, depending on the
design, thus influencing decisions on routes, rates, capacity and deepening of
harbors in many countries. East and Gulf coast ports in the United States, for
example, have spent more than US$ 150 billion to deepen harbors, expand
terminals and improve rail and road connections serving their docks.
As to Asia-East Coast, carriers have begun upsizing services. Six vessel strings
have announced the use of more than 50 ships with capacities of between 6,000
and 10,000 TEU's. It is interesting to stress the fact that the Panama Canal
Authority is constantly consulting its clients --- considered "partners" --- in order to
guarantee that the markets are properly served, and that future plans spring from
the best possible decisions.
All modes of internal transport are being considered important to the efficient
operation of the Panama Canal. This includes road, air, rail and marine
transportation, integration of land use, the construction of two additional bridges
across the Canal and a new 60-foot deep transshipment hub in the Pacific Ocean,
where large ships can exchange cargo with smaller regional vessels. Social
responsibility is a must in all these processes, so Panama's transit-oriented
policies are in permanent coordination with the general development of urban
areas that, in words of the 44th European Transport Conference, should be "livable,
sustainable cities from origin to main networks, from motorway or station to final
The Panama Canal Authority, as is known worldwide, has strict safety norms and a
state-of-the-art computerized system that integrates the tracking of vessels with
real time maritime operations information. The effective and spotless
administration of the Canal is pride of our nation, and is set on guaranteeing its
peaceful use by all the countries of the world without interruption. Aware that world
trade relies on sustainable transport and that it has great impact on the Sustainable
Development Goals, we will at all times honor our obligation to keep the Canal
open, without disruptions.