TOC Conference Panama Press Release

A group of delegates from St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies are currently in Panama attending the annual TOC container supply chain conference of the Americas. TOC is a container supply chain Global forum for Ports, Terminals, shipping lines and 3rd party logistics that joins together Maritime personnel worldwide to discuss the most recent market trends, challenges, and opportunities for maritime container transport across North, South and Central America.


Anticipating the opening of the Panama Canal in 2015 various terminal officials, supply companies, consultants and carrier executives are meeting and discussing innovative approaches to improve the container supply chain after the new locks are installed. St. Maarten is taking advantage of this opportunity to meet with key delegates in order to promote the dynamics of the Port and to secure key transshipment opportunities prior to the Opening of the Panama Canal.

Achieving operational excellence is one of the key strategic approaches the port is working towards to attract more vessels once the canal is opened. In 2010 Panama handled 5.4 mln TEU and is expecting to grow to 12.4 mln by 2020. This will lead to a direct increase in shipments to the Caribbean islands with great opportunities for St. Maarten because of the geographic location and the continued sub feeder status to the neighboring islands.

Currently the port caters to 5 major cargo lines and the main focus in the coming years will be on transshipment. The port will continue looking for new vessels to channel cargo through SXM by promoting the operational excellence within.

During a panel presentation it was made known that the current standard vessel carries up to 8500 TEU and future vessels will carry up to 13500 TEU. Work horses of the fleets will carry up to 6500 TEU once the canal is opened. With the decrease in amount of vessels, the choice of port of call will be even more important while planning shipping routes, thus increasing competition. Up to 165 vessels carrying more that 13000 TEU are expected to be sailing within the next 2 years.

St. Maarten’s position within this arena is to focus on the top carriers through the Panama canal and work in tandem to attract feeder vessels to our shores and be utilized as a key transshipment hub for the neighboring island within our proximity.