On a trip to Panama City, Spain’s acting Minister for Public Works, Ana Pastor, underlined that the expansion of the Panama Canal reaffirms the commitment by Panama and Spain to work together.
“It is irrefutable that the more we find a way to harness our added value, the stronger we will be,” Pastor said.
Pastor will visit the expansion works on the canal on Tuesday, which will be inaugurated on June 26, the minister met with the country’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, to whom she expressed her satisfaction at the upcoming finalization of the expansion works on the canal, and highlighted the leading role of Spanish companies that have taken part in the project.
Furthermore, Pastor underlined the interest from Spanish companies in participating in major infrastructure works that will be undertaken in the country.
Extension of Panama Canal
During her visit to the Central American country, Pastor also held a meeting with Panamanian and Spanish business leaders, at which she highlighted the key contribution from 40,000 workers of 40 nationalities that have taken part in the expansion of the Panama Canal.
Once the new facilities are in use, the capacity will be doubled, increasing the volume of cargo passing through per annum from 300 to 600 million tonnes; the transit time of vessels will be reduced, and bigger container ships will be able to pass through the canal.
“The Government of Panama has made a great effort so that large-tonnage ships can reach the four corners of the earth. This effort made by the people and Government of Panama will have repercussions on the economy of the world, not only of Panama,” pointed out the minister.
As regards the figures for Panama, the Minister for Public Works pointed out that Spain is the second largest investor in the country and that, at present, there are more than 300 Spanish companies operating there with a portfolio of public works and contracts awarded for a sum in excess of 5.14 billion euros, providing direct employment for 15,000 workers.
Among the projects that are currently under way in Panama by Spanish companies are Line 2 of the underground train system; the design, construction and financing of the new National Oncology Institute of Panama, and the construction of a port.
Other international projects
In 2015, the figure for international tenders awarded in which Spanish companies participated amounted to more than 55 billion euros, 14.54% up on 2014.
Furthermore, according to the latest figures available, in the first four months of 2016, international tenders in infrastructures in which Spanish companies are participating has already passed the figure of 10 billion euros.
The Minister for Public Works underlined that innovative projects exist under the ‘Spain Brand’ distributed around the world and that Spain is currently an overseas benchmark in the field of infrastructure. In this regard, she pointed out that it is participating in such major projects as the high-speed rail line between Mecca and Medina, the largest contract awarded to Spanish companies abroad to date (6.74 billion euros); the Marmaray Project in Turkey, and the underground train lines in Riyadh and Lima.
Pastor pointed out that this Spanish presence overseas is the result of a major investment effort that has been made and from the accumulated experience acquired in Spain over recent years. The Minister for Public Works highlighted that Spain has 15,000 kilometres of high capacity roads; the most extensive railway network in Europe (3,500 kilometres) and the second largest in the world, behind only China; more than 207 million airport passengers in 2015; and the State Port network had a capacity of 502 million tonnes last year.