INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH

Panama 2017 | INDUSTRY & MINING | FOCUS: INDUSTRIAL AND LOGISTICS PARKS

To manage the increase in cargo passing through the expanded canal, Panama has to boost its logistic performance with more warehouses, solutions, and industrial parks.

When an international investor moves its operation to Panama, a warehouse, ideally located in an industrial or logistic park, is always considered a great platform to start a new business.

The undergoing expansion of Tocumen Airport, along with the new canal, is driving up demand and the market value of industrial and logistic warehouses. In 2015, the average rental price of a warehouse in Panama exceeded USD9 per sqm while the average sale price of industrial parks reached USD1,580,00 per sqm. Capital.com.pa noted that the Costa del Este y Centro area is characterized by the highest prices. Industrial parks maintained an average price of USD1,500 per sqm for Class A warehouses, while those in the Class B segment registered an increase in sale price, going from USD1,080,00 per sqm in 2015 to USD1,200,00 in 2016. As far as the average sizes are involved, Class A warehouses typically start from 500sqm to a maximum size of 1,500sqm while the typical size of a Class B warehouse is around 900sqm; certain industrial parks even offer the possibility of creating build-to-order spaces.

The occupancy rate of industrial warehouses reached an average of 94.6%, or over 40,000sqm occupied, especially to the east of the capital and in Panama Pacifico, with an average of 15,000sqm. In 2015, Arturo Lopez, Vice-President at the Division of New Projects Development at Grupo Corporativo Perez, shared with TBY the investment of the holding in the construction of a new, leading logistic park, commenting, “Parque Logistico Panama is an investment focused on real estate, logistics, and industry. As a group, we distribute cars and parts; logistics is in our blood. Parque Logistico Panama is a world-class investment of world-class quality. What we have here is a real eco-friendly park; we have different services and products; however, the most important fact is that we are the best private park in the country. One of the leading advantages is our location. We are close to the airport, which is vital for certain industry types, such as pharmaceuticals. For pharmaceuticals, it is critical to move products; therefore, we have an advantage in that segment. Half of our park is a FTZ; therefore, we have a number of customers that look not only for the Panamanian market, but also see Panama as a hub. We have, for example, manufacturing companies in the FTZ. They are manufacturing here to supply the domestic market, but a great part of their products will supply the rest of the region—Central America and the Caribbean mainly."

The undergoing construction of industrial and logistic parks will add over 391,000sqm to this expanding market: the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is one of the drivers and promoters of this growth. It is now working on a new master plan to boost the logistic performance of the Interoceanic Zone that will feature more warehouses, logistics, and industrial parks to manage the increasing cargo that passes through the expanded Canal.

The availability and construction of industrial and logistic parks is a fundamental factor and indicator taken in consideration when analyzing the level of competitiveness of a country. Because of its solid infrastructure of industrial and logistic parks, Panama boasts major logistics competitiveness in Latin America and is among the top 25% of countries with the highest rating globally. During a conversation with TBY, Miguel Angel Esbri, National Secretary of the Competitiveness & Logistics Secretariat, commented on the results, stating “Panama improved its position in the World Economic Forum rankings by an impressive jump of eight positions. We are only nine positions away from Chile (33) and overall, this has been a massive success for Panama. The main objective of the secretariat is for Panama to become the most competitive economy in Latin America in 2019—Chile tops that list at the moment. However, it is worth mentioning that in the World Bank's Doing Business Report, Panama lost three positions—we currently rank 70th and are the sixth Latin American economy. By 2019, we want to be in the top three in the region in terms of doing business."