Progress in Panama

There is no doubt that business in the Latin American region is exciting at the moment, as large global businesses are jockeying to invest in the growth markets spread across the continent.

Just take a look, for example, at that narrow body of land separating the Atlantic from the Pacific at the upper end of South America.  This is where a huge percentage of the world’s goods in transit already pass through the Panama Canal. 

Built at the end of the 19th century, the Canal is now undergoing a very impressive $5.25 billion expansion to accommodate more and much larger modern cargo ships that currently must travel around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America to reach their destinations.

Now add to that the recent Sino-Colombian agreement for a new railway across Colombia linking the Atlantic and Pacific. The proposed 220 km railway, sponsored by the Chinese, is on the drawing board.

The textbook issue for large infrastructure projects is whether there will be a strong-enough demand, and whether a trans-Colombian railway will really be more efficient and attractive than transiting via the Canal. But there can be no doubt that this vast increase in infrastructure will stimulate commerce and result in enormous growth in logistical and related services and suppliers in a concentrated zone that heretofore has been a tropical area of limited economic focus.

 In Panama RSM International has a new correspondent firm that is well-suited to serve the needs of global companies today and in the future. De Levante y Asociados, based in Panama City, was established in the 1950’s, and has evolved into a modern and sophisticated firm. They have the depth and breadth of experience which is essential for companies looking to establish or expand in this exciting region.

Panama and its canal will remain crucial to the health of the world economy and free flowing trade. I can foresee the increased demand in global trade will probably mean both the Canal and the trans-Colombian railroad will be kept busy in years to come.



Jean M Stephens
Chief Executive Officer